Part of my thought process, and of conversation with some of my followers, has been regarding where “Happiness” can actually be found.
I think there are things in our lives that we would say “Make” us happy — our life partner, successful children, satisfying work, a good meal, a nice Barolo.
But we also know that this isn’t really what I’m talking about.
I’m trying to find the happiness that lasts, that persists despite an outer circumstance that would not be of my choosing.
I don’t want to be Pollyanna, necessarily; but maybe B. K. S. Iyengar.
He writes: To feel is a verb; it is something that happens. We all feel. Emotion is a noun, a thing. To feel is beautiful, belonging to both the animal and the human condition. When we allow feelings to harden and coalesce into emotions, which we transport like overburdened slaves, we deny ourselves life’s freshness, its ever-present potential for renewal and transformation. We waste so much energy through allowing our emotions to govern us. . .In a healthy organism, feelings should pass like clouds over the sun.
So I’ve been thinking about this feeling vs. emotion, happiness vs. “Happiness.”
I think the answer is in gratitude, and in just living. (Just. As if it’s just that easy.)
Even if we have lost something dear to us, we had it. And even if we lose something that matters, we have other things that we were once really grateful for and probably have still, and maybe keeping that in front of us, within us, can balance out the pain of what we’ve lost.
When I fell in love with my husband, I felt myself wake up after what seemed like a really long time spent walking around like a somnambulist. In all those years before I was doing stuff, I was productive, I was meeting my obligations, but it was all like playing a role in a really long play (Synechdoche, NY comes to mind).
I sent him this poem once, and had an acronym of the last line engraved inside his wedding band:
Siehe, ich lebe.
Weder Kindheit noch Zukunft werden weniger. . .
Überzähliges Dasein entspringt mir im Herzen. (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Look, I am living.
Neither childhood nor future grows any smaller. . .
Superabundant being wells up in my heart.
I had it, which means I could lose it. But I had it, and because I had it once, I have it all still.