Can we be happy...NO MATTER WHAT?
I believe the answer is a resounding YES! And while I recognize flags may be popping up all over the place and horns are blaring, I ask that you consider why I believe this is true.
Years ago, I made the decision that, no matter what, I would be happy. The decision was relatively easy…just do it. And then began the execution of the decision; suddenly, it appeared to be ‘not so easy’. One of the first things I had to do was to expand the depth and breadth of my practice of mindfulness; throughout any given day, my thoughts frequently had the potential to obliterate any feeling of happiness.
Once I identified the ‘thought’ that was eagerly waiting to transpose me to a place of (fill in the blank, e.g. fear/anger/shame/guilt, etc), I had a choice; stay with my commitment or succumb to the ‘thought’.
It was an interesting journey. First, I became acutely aware of the hundreds and hundreds of thoughts passing through. Becoming cognizant of the thought enlightened me to the reason I could easily and frequently decrease my energy. In other words, the feelings invoked by many of the thoughts were sad at best and depressing at worst; the antonym of happy. Because I believe that I am responsible for my thoughts, feelings, and choices, I believe I can be happy…no matter what…it is my choice.
I did not expect that I would begin to only have thoughts of happiness…to exist as Snow White with singing and birds chirping all around me all the time. I was not concerned with the thought that would pass my consciousness. My focus was solely on the deliberate choice I would make in response to the thought. I no longer held the illusion that anyone or anything held power over my sense of well-being; my ability to be content, be experience joy…no matter what.
Over the years of practicing this expanded perspective on mindfulness, I changed ‘happy’ to ‘content’.
I did not want the opposite of sadness, I wanted the opposite of lack.
No matter what, I could achieve peace with what I had or where I was. The Swedes have a beautiful perspective about this; ‘it is enough’ is a common expression. Because they bring the concept into their everyday life, their ability to achieve sustained contentment is astounding and I received the perfect experience to understand the power of contentment.
I was 62 years old, climbing onto the top bunk at the homeless shelter where I would spend the next 10 days. I was jettisoned into the unknown. I had lost my home and my business. I had lost my connection with my children and my grandchildren. I had lost my hopes and my dreams for my remaining years. Although I had my car and my ‘stuff’, I had lost that which brought me joy. Yet, I was content; I knew it did not represent lack. Whatever I was experiencing at that moment would change. And while I did not know how it would change, I did know that all was well with my soul; experientially I understood contentment and grace beyond my imagination.
And while I believe that we can be happy…no matter what, I believe that when we are content…no matter what, happiness is merely an effect. When we are content, we see beauty all around us. We delight in the laughter of children and the playfulness of our pets. We breathe in the scent of a beautiful flower and our chest swells with delight of the glorious sunrise. We see, feel, give, and receive love. When we are content, we are fully present in the NOW.
And in each moment, we can be happy…no matter what.
From my heart to yours,
Dayton ~ the holistic wellness coach