ARTWORK: Fireflies by Keith Carter, 1992.
I have a theory that happiness is an exuberant relief.
If I really consider what happiness feels like, I’d call it light-hearted. Happiness is a break from force and a breakthrough to flow. In the absence of tension or pressure, there is space for lightness to be centerstage. That lightness is always present and when we allow ourselves to relax into it, we feel happiness. We feel joy unresisted.
See, there is relief in being empty. When there is no worry, there is pleasure. You know that feeling that washes over you when all the windows are down and music is blasting and the car is moving fast? It feels like touching the sky or exhaling into a state of ecstasy. In the moments of true surrender, the presence of everything that is so much more than my identity comes into my awareness and fills the space that was occupied by my persona. In the relief of emptiness, I feel so beautiful. I become a vessel for creativity that is greater than my comprehension. Abundance fills the space that is created by making peace with what is. If I loosen my grip on the illusion of control, I make room for faith to replace my anxieties.
There is so much relief in not needing to have an opinion or judgement about everyone and everything. There is so much room for happiness when you tend to your own garden. There is relief in saying “I don’t know” instead of making up an answer. There is relief in being honest rather than needing to be right. There is relief in finally seeing the fruits born from your efforts and the change that blooms from the seeds of your lessons. There is relief in feeling your feelings when they knock on your door. There is relief in meeting strangers who feel like old friends. Let worry, fear and doubt be old teachers while you embody new growth.
Happiness is an exuberant relief that confirms our faith in the process of becoming ourselves. It is an ecstatic eruption and a disruption of stagnancy. Happiness is what is left when we give up the fight to prove anything. Happiness is what happens when we stop running in circles and stand still for a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come.
Happy New Year, kiddos.