Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cultivating Happiness

The past few nights, I haven't been sleeping.

You know what it's like...

When you're in and out of that haze of consciousness knowing that you should be sawing logs but thinking about all that is wrong with the world and wishing you could wave a magic wand...

to make it all better.

Through phone conversations with family members and friends and my own private longings, I've been hearing the phrase, "I just want to be happy," over and over again.

Admittedly, it's easy to look over the fence (physical or virtual) and assume that a certain street address, occupation, or life station would make one happy.  As if it's a destination.

So in one of these hazes, I grabbed my nightstand book, "Eat, Pray, Love" and was struck by one of Elizabeth Gilbert's quotes.

"When you sense a faint potentiality for happiness, after such dark times, you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt-this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight.”

And so with the various life circumstances that my friends' and family find themselves in and the ones that I lament from time to time, I am mindful that happiness, like love is something to be cultivated.

More than a noun, happiness is a active state.  A way that we live.  A mantra for being.  Not something that we're entitled to unless we put the work in...and in some cases, meant to be redefined from rainbows and butterflies to peace and joy.

Happiness looks different for every person.  And in the end, only you know when your heart is aglow.  But what will it take to get you there?  Are you willing to participate in the process?

Ultimately, we have responsibility for this life of ours.  Finding something beautiful, joyful, and peaceful to love is the calling of our heart which over time manifests into happiness. 

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