I thought this fit well with this post. Shout out to Paul for taking this amazing picture and graciously letting me borrow it! :)
The more I contemplate the nature of happiness, the more I realize you can't understand it, you can only experience it. It's impossible to truly understand something that you haven't experienced, or let yourself experience. What is happiness then? Well, I guess that's up to you to decide.
What makes me happy? By happy I mean the feeling of deep inner contentment, peace, and a comfort and confidence within myself. To me that is happiness. I don't think true happiness means a temporary emotion...and maybe I don't get it either. Life offers much practice, so that's comforting. We don't have to analyze it! Here are some things that make me feel happiness.
1. When people make a point to tell you how they appreciate you, even if it's already implied in their actions.
2. Having a whole day to be alone and do whatever floats your boat
4. Creative writing
5. Playing music
6. When you think about someone and then they call you and you just think "you heard me!!"
7. Making fairy houses (yes I do at 19 and it's still magical)
8. Climbing trees
9. Inside jokes that come out in public and it's hilariously awkward when nobody gets it
10. Sharing my story and being surprised and delighted when it helps someone else
11. Canoeing and spending time in nature in peace and quiet
12. No longer restricting and judging myself to fit inside the box (especially when it's actually way cooler not to!)
13. Pushing myself beyond what I think I can do (and being terrified) only to realize later that it was always possible and I did it
14. Meditation. Needs no further explanation :-)
15. Communicating with 100% honesty with myself and others
16. Animals! Especially my pooches
17. Spending a whole day drawing or painting
20. Lazy days that don't have any guilt associated with them!
21. Art. When I get in the zone and the outside world around me disappears.
There are many pieces of me that continue to fluctuate and change as I grow and expand into the grander more aware version of myself. It's been an interesting evolution to say the least. I try to keep tabs on my own growth, because it's always a friendly reminder that I'm doing my best even when I feel lost and alone. I have some amazing family and friends that support me all the way, and that makes me unconditionally happy. But with everything there's up's and down's that force you to stop and evaluate and make sure you're where you want to be...because you ALWAYS get to choose.
The experience of coming into myself and than evolving to a place where I could finally share that with the people around me that I care about the most was such a beautiful experience of learning the true nature of happiness. Because I realized it's not your experience, but the way you choose to react to your experience.
So my own fear of growing and allowing others to see the real me was keeping me from having my own experience of happiness. And for me happiness cannot truly be experienced until you stop restricting yourself; you have to be willing to show your true self to yourself, foremost, and then expand that to the world. That's real beauty and confidence, and not just a mask.
This is my way of taking a minute to become aware of my own growth and on my journey, because if I didn't sit down and surrender to this process of writing, I wouldn't have this reflection. It's a very in the moment reflection that I didn't plan to write, which is always fun for me because it helps illuminate my true thoughts. If you don't already journal, it's a great practice to take up! It doesn't need to be profound and reflective, just in the moment thoughts, even if it sounds mundane. It really is a great teacher. Poetry has been my new friend...Kalil Gibran is one of my all time favorites!
To wrap this all up...