I’ve been thinking a lot lately about feeling good. It seems sometimes that much of my actual time is spent feeling bad about something when I know what I really love is doing, saying, thinking and reflecting on things that make me feel good. As I give more conscious attention to watering those “feel good” seeds I have discovered a few “weeds” representing me giving myself permission, or allowing myself, to be happy or feel good.
Last night I watched The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer on DVD. One thing at the beginning that really resonated with me was his sharing of his voice mail message. It was something like “I’m not available to take your call right now. Before you leave a message please be aware that I want to feel good. If your message is designed to make me feel anything but good, please hang up and call Dr. Phil.”
Hearing him say this illuminated the unhappy, faceless voices in my head that are sarcastically saying, “What are YOU smiling about?” or “Why are YOU so happy?” In response to wanting to be happy, they deliver messages that it’s wrong to be happy. They are there to plant the seeds of doubt and guilt in my happiness garden. They say that there’s too much in the world and perhaps in my own life or with the people I love to be unhappy about. That things in my life are not perfect … that I am not perfect … so how can I even consider being happy?” And these seeds want me to water and nurture them.
In sitting with these voices I could see just how easy it is to allow these seeds of guilt to be planted in my happiness garden. Misery certainly does love company and there’s no shortage of misery out there. I could see how I have spent a great deal of time and energy giving these seeds of dissent water and assisting them to grow. That I have based my own happiness on external things like, I will be happy when I ‘have this thing’ or ‘do that thing’ or ‘achieve that goal.’
Going through life this way means that happiness will always be just out of reach and is always based on some thing or event outside of me. It also means that happiness is fleeting. For example, I can say that I will be happy when I get a particular car, but I know that after a few months driving the new car the feeling of happiness will wear off and I will once again be searching for a new source of future happiness
I began to ask what it would it take for me to know happiness right here and right now, in this moment, no matter what is going on outside of me. I began to wonder if and how I could be happy regardless of have’s or have not’s. I began to reflect and understand happiness through my own life experiences and have observed that the happiest moments in my life have been at times when it would appear on the outside that I had the least to be happy about.
In the book A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson wrote “The key to happiness is the decision to be happy.” This would mean that happiness is not about having the perfect things or the perfect care-free life, but that by deciding to be happy I would be fostering within myself a sense of peacefulness no matter what is going on on the outside.
I picture my happiness as a garden filled with various stages of seed growth with everything inside my garden fence having been selected and/or nurtured by me. I can choose to pull the weeds of sadness or guilt right out as soon as they appear. Pulling them doesn’t mean sadness and guilt do not exist at all in the world, as I can see that they are still growing in wild abundance just outside my garden fence.
Pulling them means that I acknowledge that they do not contribute to my happiness. Clearing the weeds on the inside means that no matter how wild, insistent and overgrown the weeds become on the outside, inside the borders of my fence, my happiness garden remains a peaceful sanctuary where I can go any time I want, to relax and luxuriate in what makes me feel good … right now.
Sometimes I let new weeds that I am unfamiliar with grow for a little while so that I can know what they are before choosing to either let them grow or yank them out. In doing this I have found that some things that I thought at first were weeds, later revealed themselves later as elements of happiness that I had not been aware of.
What do you feel is the key to happiness? Are you planting seeds in your own happiness garden? Do you find it easier to let weeds grow or do you pull them out as soon as they appear?