Simply Celebrate Newsletter: August 2010
One night my beau, Ian, and I were talking about happiness. I was getting all passionate about “happiness practices” and wondering whether it’s possible to “create” happiness. What we came to in the talk was that it isn’t possible to generate the actual outcome we want, but when we set out to take care of ourselves and have an intention to bring about joy/love/happiness … then something (us!) is actually transformed in the moment of intention. What happens later, as a result of our actions, isn’t really the point.
This was perfectly illustrated for me recently by a monk with whom I was having a guidance. I remember talking about my practice of wearing certain clothes to lift my spirits or help me feel more festive. We talked about that moment when I’m standing in front of my closet and “someone” (one of the many me’s inside of me) makes the choice to find something artsy and fun to wear because it is a way of bringing delight in my life.
I thought that the importance of that moment had to do with putting on the more “happy” clothes. My wise monk guide said, “It isn’t so important how you feel in the clothes or how people react to you. But it is key that you offer yourself compassion and joy. The moment of transformation is when you give yourself attention and ask yourself what you need.”
Aha. (Insert flashing lightbulb-over-the-head here.)
That does seem like a key. Back to my conversation with Ian — we both noted how there were lots of times when we set the stage to have a really amazing evening together and somehow life offered us something that looked a lot different than what we had imagined. (Think about the feeling of ordering a mushroom risotto with heirloom tomatoes on the side and getting leftover sloppy Joe’s and potato chips instead!) It’s pretty easy to see that the real payoff for us was in the moment of connecting with one another as we planned the delightful evening. In that moment, we were joyful and loving and present. Even though we may have thought the prize would be the resulting evening, it was actually who we were together (andhow we were together) as we planned.
I’m suddenly reminded of John Lennon’s quote, “Life is what happens to you as you are busy making other plans.” Happiness is what happens as we are planning some future happiness.
I’m not saying that great intentions don’t pay off. Often chances are pretty good that we’ll get the payoff as we’re intending something and also whenthat something comes to be. There seem to be a lot of theories out there that we vibrate at different levels, and the higher our vibration, the more easily we can make mind into matter.
So if I’m standing at my closet looking at clothes to wear and make the choice to care for myself by dressing in something that delights me, chances are that compassion and care for myself will make me feel good, thus raising my energy (vibrational) level. I then go out in the world with a higher energy/more vibration, and life seems more fun. Everything seems more colorful. People are friendly to me and I’m friendly back. Wowza, all this happiness just from the clothes I’m wearing?! Don’t worry, I’m not fooling myself with that one again. I see now that all that happiness was generated from the simple act of paying attention and caring for myself. But see how it builds? (Just, er, not always. Sometimes a truck comes along as soon as I walk out the door, vibration high, and I’m splattered with mud — metaphorical or real.)
Lots of really smart and conscious people have connected people’s energy levels to the ability to manifest the kind of life we want. I’ve been practicing it a lot and it really is rather amazing: when I feel good, good things do seem to happen. Or, also as likely, when I feel good, it “seems” like lots of good things are happening. In either case, the world looks more colorful and feels more vibrant and loving.
So the question I must ask myself is, how am I showing up for myself today in order to create that in-the-moment happiness payoff? What am I doing right now to be kind to myself or others and raise my energy? What am I creating right now? Who am I becoming along the way?
Yours in celebration,