Take a pen and a paper and write down all the words that you associate Happiness with. Think synonyms. Do it and don’t read ahead!
Then take a moment to write down all the words you associate your “real life” with….
Are there similarities and what are the differences?
Bottom line is that we have a picture of happiness more like the yellow smiley face with a stretched out curve representing a grin from ear to ear and when we look in the mirror we are neither yellow, nor grinning that much. We think we are not happy, but I think we just don’t recognize happiness in “real life” even when it is staring at us in the face.
This sort of goes along with “practicing gratitude.” You can’t know that you are happy unless you take the time to practice gratitude. Which means you need to take the time to count your blessings. Which means you must make the time. In other words, what can you give up today to make room for counting your blessings? In my life, I’ve noticed that I usually have to give up distractedness, a moment of doing nothing mindful in order to become mindful, a few breaths before falling asleep as I scan through my day for awesomeness… Time for counting my blessings is cheap. The benefits are priceless.
Imagine in your mind a dial, kind of like the speedometer in your car. If you stop for a moment and feel the rush of your gratitude as you focus on something awesome, you’d see the needle of the dial rush from 0 – 60 or even 120 in less than 60 seconds. You’d feel the dazzling effect of elation and your lips will indeed stretch from ear to ear, even painfully so. You’d feel like a fool in the clouds and innocent bystanders may become infected with your seemingly unconditional jolliness. On the other hand you could be driving the speed limit of 25 in a populated area and basically coast through all sorts of things to be grateful for on an autopilot, arriving at your evening with nothing meaningfully memorable and an empty heart.
Life offers plenty of points of interest one can focus on and feel grateful about. However, even more magical and even more addictive is the kind of happiness which comes from being grateful for your own gifts, talents, uniqueness and potential as you go about realizing them. It becomes a perpetuum mobile of a sorts, as you discover more about yourself while you are exercising everything you already know about yourself. You find out that your life has gifted you of you and it keeps on giving. That’s when you get a permagrin and you realize what the cliché “you can’t become happy, you can only be happy” really means. That’s also when you find out that the two lists above contain the same words. Real life and Happiness are one and the same.
How long will that take? It all depends on how motivated you are to be yourself, honestly embracing your uniqueness and respectfully finding it ways to shine, contribute and evolve. That’s not the same as having your way and it does not mean it’s all about you. It’s really all about contributing your You-ness to the canvas of Life as it paint’s itself.
You wanna try? You can always start easy with some yoga. Then ad mediation. Read a few books. Contemplate. Experiment. Enjoy. Call me for a little exploration session of your deepest treasures.