How to be Happy: A Conversation with Joy
Joy: Why must you know in advance?
Human: So that I can anticipate the happiness that is yet to come.
Joy: But by focusing on the happiness you believe is coming, you miss the happiness that is already there.
Human: Perhaps. But I want to know when I can expect happiness.
Joy: You should always expect happiness. And if you can't find it, look to gratitude. Happiness, when lost, can always be found again in gratitude.
Human: Hmm. Alright. I have another question for you: will my happiness look the same tomorrow as it did today?
Joy: Why do you need to know that? What does the happiness you may have tomorrow have to do with the happiness you do have today?
Human: Well...I just want to know if it will still be here tomorrow and if it will look the same.
Joy: Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Does it matter?
Human: Well if I knew today that tomorrow's happiness wouldn't be here, I might be sad today.
Joy: But why? Why would your experience of happiness today be diminished if you knew that the happiness of tomorrow would be different?
Human: Because I would feel as though the happiness I had today wasn't real.
Joy: But the happiness of today won't have been any less real just because it isn't there tomorrow. And can you not keep your heart open to the possibility that perhaps what makes you happy today may no longer make you happy tomorrow?
Human: Maybe. But I still want to do my absolute best to hold onto the happiness of today so that it can be there as long as possible!!
Joy: (laughing) Oh little one! Do not try to hold onto happiness. Happiness is an energy and like all energy, it has to flow to stay alive. And in that movement, change is bound to happen. But trust that happiness will always be available to you, you only have to keep your eyes and your heart open to see it every day, in one form or another.
I've been guilty of this myself - I think we all have - of trying to control happiness. Trying to hold onto the people or things we think will give us happiness and then being extremely unhappy when the people left and we lost the things.
But the best thing to do with happiness, and really the only thing we can do with it, is to take it at face value.
To take it for what it is in the moment and not make any attempt whatsoever to hold onto it. (I know, I know, this is really difficult.)
LIFE, LOVE, and HAPPINESS all require FREEDOM to thrive, and if we hope to experience any of these things, we need to let go of our agendas.
When happiness arrives at my doorstep, I try not to forget my manners by treating it to an uncomfortable line of inquiry:"So...can you define yourself please? Are you bringing any guests? Do you have a ballpark idea of when you might be leaving, just so that, you know, I can anticipate your departure and suffocate you until then?"
When I remember my manners, I simply say: "Welcome, thank you for being here, please come in and make yourself at home. Stay as long as you like, go when you have to."
I still catch myself at it sometimes though. Despite the knowledge that attempting to throttle the life out of my happiness won't ensure that it stays, I still catch myself sneaking behind my own back saying "Maybe if I squeeze harder..."
The thing is: sometimes the people and situations that come into our lives are GIFTS.
The Universe is saying: "Here, enjoy this."
If we try to grasp and define the situation, we will destroy it, and honestly, wouldn't it be silly to walk away from happiness just because it couldn't define itself or promise us forever?
"Because you can't be what I think you should be, I cannot accept you..."Does that really make sense?
Why that's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater!! (For the record, I've never thrown a baby anywhere.)
We think that if we try to hold onto happiness, it will increase our chances of having it stay, but all we succeed in doing is pushing it away. The energy of grasping comes from FEAR, whereas the energy of freedom comes from LOVE - and only things that are born of LOVE can ever hope to stand the test of time.
My goal is to be centred enough, Zen enough, to just take the happiness that arrives at my doorstep and roll around in it the way a cat spreads out star-fish-style in a pool of sunshine. I want to get covered in head-to-toe happiness. Meow.
We need to LIVE with freedom, LOVE with freedom and enjoy every single drop of happiness that life has to give...because nobody promised us tomorrow.
Today's happiness is the only thing that's real.