Cultivating Happiness

A dear creative friend of mine, Ann Marie, challenged us with the idea the other day that happiness doesn't just come naturally to most people. We are constantly looking for more, striving for content, and rarely wake up satisfied to just be present. I guess this has gotten to be more and more common as our expectations and definitions change as a society and while on one hand I try to be optimistic and view is as a kind of adventure, I do realize that so much time is wasted in search of this elusive thing called happiness- which in and of itself has a revolving meaning from day to day.

At any rate, if you are like me, you are able to give some kind of nod toward what is really important in life, but even armed with this foundation still feel incomplete. While clinging tight to the truth that happiness is definitely the journey, and not the destination, Ann asked some of us how we cultivate happiness along our journey when on a lot of days it just doesn't come naturally? A part of me finds this to be so unfortunate, because I KNOW how lucky I am am with what I have, and how grateful I am for all that has been given to me, so the idea of me having to seek out things to be happy about upsets me. It is more than happy vs unhappy, but I have a hard time explaining it. I need to find a good word for the malcontent prototype I am afraid I embody... But at the same time, passionate and ambitious seem to give the feeling too much credit, haha! I am open for suggestions...

But on the other foot when I think about people needing to cultivate happiness, a part of me feels very proud and empowered too. It would be so easy to slink along and not acknowledge this little poke in the back of your head wanting more- to sit back and feel entitled to joy. I am proud of people who can recognize this feeling and take action to overcome it... for people who realize we have the ability to make- or cultivate- our own joy! It is a really difficult thing for some people to wrap their heads around, but something that so often needs to happen. Maybe thats why from the beginning, Jefferson wrote, "Life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness..." so we wouldn't be programmed for it to come naturally all the time!

Anyway, all that is to say, I am going to work over the next couple days to make a thoughtful list of the things I do to generate happiness in my life and I want you to do the same. I am taking a few days and will post what I come up with so I can be sure and let it stew a bit. Share your thoughts about it too! Why do you think we are always in search of what makes us happy when there is so much joy right at our feet? maybe you think we are searching for something else? What is it? I am anxious to hear!!!

Thanks again to Ann for the great topic!!!