Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about happy. Not necessarily happiness, or how to be happy, but just the word itself- Happy. We can turn it into a verb, and do happy, which in turn makes us the adjective happy. People spend millions of dollars a year trying to find ways to get happy, be it shopping, yoga, retreats, meditation, money, or love. But what is the real definition of happiness and is there one set one, or is it relative and subjective for each person? To some, happiness might be sitting on a rock in the middle of the woods with nothing but a bottle of water, and their thoughts. To someone else it might be dinner at the Standard, and a hand full of shopping bags filled with glamorous clothes. This led me to wonder about what it is that makes me truly happy, how I get there, and how to stay there.
This weekend I was supposed to leave for my 2nd Humanity in Unity retreat,a meditational,spiritual 2 day journey that is freeing to your mind, and your heart. Last October I joined my friend for my first one in Colorado, and I was uneasy, confused, transfixed, absorbed, but ultimately, happy. I won’t get into the whole weekend, because this post will turn into a 20 page essay, but in a nut shell, the things that are new and scary, are also the same things that can be transforming. I remember wondering, I feel good, but I don’t feel changed- why don’t’ I feel different??!! Am I doing it wrong? And my friend, who is a vital part of the retreat itself, said to me, why are you beating yourself up for not transforming fast enough?? You always do that. It’s not a race, you’ll get there when you get there.
I felt revitalized; the little things just didn’t matter. My skin was glowing, and my body was open, not closed off like normal. I sat in silence for half hours at a time, and by the end, instead of rolling my eyes, I was dancing along, chanting to the Hindi songs, and waving my arms around, feeling light all around me. It sounds corny. But you know what, sometimes, corny is happiness. And it was that day.
I was looking forward to,and discussing the next retreat for months, so it was a blow to my heart, when my mind told it that it wasn’t going to get it’s way this time.
This has been an emotional year for me, a roller coaster of emotions and fears, some happy days, and a lot of sad days, all culminating with this week’s end. All the logic told me to go and rid my head of the buzzing, but my stress just couldn’t let it go, so I decided ultimately to stay this time.
I have instead vowed to not accept plans, but make this a productive weekend, and get things done; make a list, and accomplish that on the list, rather then move it to next week’s list. But the plans, or ‘we should do this this weekend’ emails are trickling in, and I am trying to keep my promise to myself, though it won’t be easy.
I don’t know what the answer to happiness is, but maybe part of it’s trusting your gut, and deciding whether to choose your mind or your heart. Next time, it’s the heart of the matter.
As I’ve said, happiness is not 1 definitive thing, but a state of mind. There are a million Cosmo articles telling us what will do the trick, or pre-ordering of The Secret, showing us that positive thinking breeds positive outcomes. There is no right answer. But in the shady, alley ways of our mind, there are some fast, easy ways to get there.
1) MAKE PLANS . A busy calendar is a happier mind.
2) WORK OUT. This works. It really, really works. Either hit the gym, or take a yoga class. Take 10 minutes each morning to meditate. Just sit quietly on your bed, in your room and clear your mind. But beware, this usually creates more thinking then usual.
3)Read a book with some proverbs in it that wasn’t mass marketed to make us happy. I love the Bhagavad Gita. And when I left for college, my mom gave me a book called the 4 agreements. It’s a short book with a lasting impact.
4) Kiss someone.Okay, well it might be a short term effect. I don’t know what happens after that, but I can promise that kissing someone will make you feel good.