Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday, July 14: Happiness Now, heresy, but what the heck

I give a title to this site, as Happiness Today, and just what part of today are we willing to be happy? After the wash is done? After we get back from work? After we finish worrying about whether so and so likes us as much as they are supposed to? After we eat, or get to wherever we want to get?

Hmm. What’s wrong with that approach? Well, if we really let ourselves be happy after x, then it might make life kind of interesting. But the trouble with this sort of thinking is that by the time we get to whenever we were supposed to be happy, we are so used to thinking and planning and looking ahead to the next couple of things on our “to do” list, that we plum forget about happiness now.

So, this leaves now as the bestest time to get happy. Yes, I know, bestest is not a good work, and certainly not the goodest word, but part of happiness is making mistakes. Weird, because learning competence can contribute greatly to happiness, but there is learning competence in a playful and discovering fashion, ala Feldenkrais, and there is learning competence with a nose to the grindstone kind of attitude. No fun, this second route, and usually will lead to burn-out, or injury.

So chill, but chill with awareness. Since if we don’t know we are here, now how are we going to be in touch with whether we are happy or not? There can be a whole long discussion about the happiness you feel when you don’t even know it, but let’s go for this: wake up to the moment, know you are alive right now, and be happy.

Why happy?

This is our natural state if things are relatively calm inside. Outside is beyond our control often, but if the kitchen is messy and we come to the present and look and see: this is a mess, then we can come back to our breathing and clean with enjoyment. The here and now sensations of moving our bodies to clean a kitchen are not anything less than here and now sensations of moving our bodies to do something useful. Yoga is nice, Feldenkrais is nice, but if we are afraid or too lazy to move our bodies to clean up the joint, do we really know how to move?

Probably not.

So being happy now is about being present to our lives and being able to do what needs to be done while being in our bodies while we do it. This is really simple stuff, changing diapers, cleaning the sink, taking out the garbage, sweeping the back porch, walking to the store. Find ways to make our life simple and physical and be present with that. Tend to or make a garden. Clean the dishes. Make our food slowly and with awareness.

This is our life, now and being happy and present is just about the best present we can give to ourselves. And if we are with others? They will be thrilled if we can be present around them, though it may confuse them a little, since people are so unused to anyone being present around other people. It’s usually my robot and your robot going through our “How are you?” “What you been doing?” “How are the kids?” routine. Or the you tell me your plan for the next segment of the day and I’ll tell you my plan, which is how most people who are so-called in a family together interact.

What a shock and delight to actually stop the chatter, stop the meaningless dialogue and actually be present with another person.


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