When you read the title of the post , don't seeking for happiness, do you feel strange!? In recognizing this we are given the most wonderful gift ever. We do not need to wait for something to happen to be happy, or to have achieved something defined as a success by others to feel pride in ourselves, or for a particular action to happen to have love in your life. We can experience happiness, love, and pride - at any moment in our each and every day.
How we think sets us free or traps us. How we think allows us to be happy or not. The remarkable aspect of how we experience our world is most certainly not defined by external events, but how we view them.
If we choose to define our experience according to other people's values and perspectives, we will spend our lives always at odds to our own true values.
Becoming aware of our own values, and learning to appreciate what is good right now, is vital for our effectiveness, happiness and health. In fact making the decision to choose our focus of attention is as essential to our wellbeing and effectiveness as drinking water, eating healthy food, taking supplements and taking exercise.
Of course some terrible things can happen in life. I remember when my first baby died and the deep misery that settled upon me; yet on occasions, as I walked our dog around Peckham Rye Park in London, there would be moments when I would find myself out of my internal misery, free, gazing at the clouds in the sky - seeing the shapes, the colours in the clouds - even on an entirely grey day. At that time I had so much less knowledge and awareness than I do today. However even then, I noticed that suddenly I was free of the misery of my loss, it made me question whether maybe my grief was not so great. I came to the conclusion that being able to escape the deep misery that I felt encapsulated by, even for a few moments did not negate my loss. I learned that it was possible to experience both. Even today, 21 years later, the acute pain of that bereavement and of later ones, can bubble up as raw as those early days. I know now that I can choose where I want my focus to remain, and that is what I do.
What I know is that noticing and taking pleasure in simple and random happenings can give me a very deep sense of pleasure and connectedness with the world and nature. If you think of the times you have really laughed, you will re-connect with those wonderful feelings.
Loss, love, expectation and happiness have been subjects that have been the source material for poets, novellists and philosophers throughout civilization. I came across a wonderful quote about happiness yesterday, by Eleanor Roosevelt:-
This is so true. Of course at moments of crisis it can take a while to see through the haze, the dust, the sense of bewilderment and shock, yet with the many people I have worked with - as a health visitor, who have been bereaved, or who have had their own life seriously threatened - the majority do find that alongside their grief they also find an equally acute appreciation of life and of the tiny beauties that are every where all the time, when they choose to notice.
Today, I came across this video about Sue Austin - who found magnificent freedom after illness in her teens altered her mobility and required her to use a wheel chair. Hers is a beautiful example of how we can choose our own perspective and by doing so really begin to have fun, happiness and freedom. Watch this, please, and watch the faces of the audience as they see beyond their common cultural limitations associated with disability, and are transfixed by Sue's wonderful love of beauty, fun and freedom.
Of course, whilst my article today has touched on extreme experiences which might trap us or set us free, the habits of thinking that individuals run are first set in early childhood. These habits are most frequently set in response to the responses and teachings of our parents, grandparents and teachers - in those early situations we made sense of our world, according to our understanding then. Now we can choose to understand and make sense of the world according to our understanding now. From this moment on we can choose to take note of what is right in our world right now.