Weaving through the macramé of this world, how does a person discover, embrace, tap into and maintain happiness? This theme has been my lifelong obsession, if not my passion, as well as thorns in my sides and pokes in my eyes.
An intelligent discussion centered on happiness with my peers was like swimming in an ocean of macaroni and cheese. An argument over it with a few family members’ reminded me of driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
Throughout my life I’ve interviewed—more like questioned—friends, neighbors and co-workers, what happiness meant to them. Was happiness about gaining money, career success, a good hair day, a satisfying relationship, a big wedding, eating at a Sizzler, knowing thyself, achieving guru status, getting divorced, becoming a celebrity, vacationing in Alaska, entrepreneurship, being Knighted by the Queen, traveling the world, people recognizing your writing talent or fishing skills?
Raising too many questions, my detainees became confused and borderline demented, wondering if they’d really experienced or achieved happiness themselves as defined by Wikipedia: a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. What does all that mean? Contentment? Is that gratification from eating dark chocolate? Satisfaction? Isn’t that a Rolling Stones song? Pleasure? Hmmm? Joy? Isn’t she on The View television show?
As a child my parents taught me that happiness was a state of emotional and physical euphoria, but hands-on showing how to get there wasn’t available. As a teenager my friends said it was about active hormones, but a few seconds of physical ecstasy was a wash. During young adulthood attaining a career and raising a family achieved semi happiness, but no cigar. Overwhelming responsibilities interfered.
Everyday as an older adult I still question what happiness is comprised of. My dreams sometimes reveal the effects of happiness—when I fly through the sky without a cape or wings or motor, when I breath underwater without gills, when I kiss Angelina Jolie on the cheek—I think I feel happiness.
How can I be happy or just wallow in small pieces of happiness every day with all the heralding events throughout the world being shoved into my face by the media and local community? I’d decided what I had to do to achieve happiness, was to use my personal daily events as clip-art and cut and paste—physically visualizing images that gave me contentment, satisfaction, pleasure and joy, from the medias and personal events that touch me; happiness.
In this process I scale down the blistering immoral and unethical events around me, enlarge the sweetness of good health, mutual affection, nurturing nature, celebrating wisdom, embracing kindness, and to love and be loved; everything else falls into place And, what makes me happy I cut and paste the clip-art into compartmentalized spaces inside my brain and recall them whenever I begin to feel sad.
Edith Wharton explained it best when she wrote, “If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.”
The macramé of this world remains. My lifelong obsession of discovering, embracing, tapping into and maintaining happiness is a vestige of living creatively.
Enjoy your happiness,