Finding Happiness by Pressing into Change

I think a lot on the topic of happiness.  I used to sit on my sofa at the end of a long day teaching other people’s children and in tears, I would tell my husband, “I just want to be happy.  Why can’t I just be happy?”  Last week, I found myself on the same sofa, saying to the same man, “I’m happy.  So very happy!”  So what changed?  The only possibility is me.

I have spent a great deal of time trying to better myself.  Growing up, I was a child predisposed to ‘perfectionism,’ which still plagues me at times.  The beginning of my road to happiness was being able to let go of much of this thinking; recognizing that it holds me in places that are non-productive.  Also, clinging to my mind’s own fabricated ideals about what I needed say or do has robbed me of so much joy in my life.  I have had to learn how to let go of what other people think of me.

How can I propose to know so much about what is happening in someone else’s head anyway?  Frankly, it’s none of my business what they think of me!  Besides, they are on their own journey, on an ocean just as deep as mine.  I always wanted someone to come along and rescue my clutching self from the floating buoy in the middle of it all, but no one came.   It was I who rescued myself.  It is in this loneliness of learning who I truly am that I am beginning to build the creativity and self-confidence that will save my life.

I have also come to recognize my emotions as a gift of being human.  It is when I am experiencing emotion that I have the opportunity to press into it and invite my own innate wisdom.  My best growth yields have come from tuning in to my emotions.  We are encouraged too much in our culture to maintain stoic exteriors.  For too long, I have pushed my emotions aside, claiming on some level that I didn’t have time for them.  But over time, I have learned that I feel the most centred when I find the right balance between thinking and feeling.  Although there can be such large emotional waves of highs and the lows these are natural to what it means to be alive.  Moreover, if it weren’t for the negative emotions, how would I even know what ‘good’ felt like?  It is just not possible to be happy all the time.  Growth happens in seasons.  Seasons of decay are what feed our seasons of abundance.  It is when we rise up out of the decay that we burst into new life.

I am trying to experience my life not by what I am doing, but rather what I am being.  Life IS change.

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