Happiness, NOW

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My collage this week shows some of the things that make me happy. Yoga, of course, flowers, of course, pure, unbridled laughter with my soulmate, near the ocean, of course, and an opened heart, pouring out love and compassion….

But sometimes that heart needs protection, and maybe a door to shut out the hard stuff. And there has been way too much hard stuff lately. And the door never completely closes, leaving gaps for everything wanted or unwanted to creep in.

The challenge is balance, and it is a day by day, minute by minute thing, usually accompanied by handfuls of angst and confusion. My job as a therapist, yoga/mindfulness instructor, creativity person puts me in a unique spot. I get to preach what I try to practice every day. But, as I remind my students and myself, it is a practice. None of us will ever be perfect at being present.

When you’ve practiced long enough, you realize that being present can be quite challenging. Sometimes we don’t want to be where we are, doing what we are doing. Sometimes the present moment is just too painful. That is the problem with being awake in the present. You get a taste of it all. The fresh air along with the sand and dust it kicks up, the cool feeling of iced tea on a hot day, along with the dry mouth afterwards, the soft baby’s skin along with its copious poops every two hours. It’s all there in your field of awareness when you are present, and at some point you realize, since the door doesn’t shut properly, you have to find a filter. We simply can’t be present every single moment. Our brains would implode.

And, because I am not a masochist, I choose to pay attention to the good stuff, like birds singing outside my window at 6 in the morning, or the way the dog rubs her head on the carpet while I’m petting her, or the smell of coffee, or the ever-changing sky. A nice day on the beach with my soulmate laughing at whatever happens to tickle us at the same time, or a simple sunset, quiet and humble in its beauty. Those things give me pleasure, joy, and enough moments of happiness to carry on when the hard stuff catches me off-guard.

So, today, what gives me joy is this: hearing the wind howling outside at 40-50 miles per hour while I sit in a “spare” room surrounded by my favorite things–yoga mat, bead projects, books, magazines and a full belly. It’s all in the perspective.

 

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