I was browsing through a bookstore recently and stumbled upon a very large section of titles all dedicated to various tips, techniques and tools to help folks find happiness. And it struck me – is happiness something missing that we’re meant to ‘find’? Is it another thing to add to your life goals .. . must achieve happiness? It seems a bit sad that we’ve collectively arrived at a state where we’re lacking a key layer of calm, peace and happiness and that we believe it can be found in a book outlining specific instructions on its aquisition.
I truly feel that happiness, or even JOY, is our natural state. When we experience our purest, most childlike chapters, we can’t help but exude giggles and a bounce in our step. Our smile is automatic not to mention contagious. Its not a manufactured state and its not part of a 10 step process. Instead, its very authentic and it already exists inside all of us.
I think what happens, is that layers of societal convention and habits start to cloud our natural state. Add in a capitalistic society with an edge of competition and we’re soon so far removed from our purest ‘being’ that happiness can indeed feel like a far flung concept.
Perhaps if we find ourselves ‘lacking’ happiness we need only to look at our daily beliefs, habits and mental tapes to see what’s getting in the way. Through simple recognition we can start to notice what to give up . . . making room for more of our natural JOY to flourish.
I heard a bettle bug clumsily bashing around my tree house today – stuck against a tiny pane of glass near the ceiling. These lime sized bugs fly like druken sailors and the only real danger is that they smack straight into you, leaving you with a bruise from the force of their impact. And yes, I’m speaking from experience.
The odd thing is, the treehouse is nearly entirely open to the out of doors. And yet somehow, this crazy beetle was intent on trying to push through a singular pane of glass versus flying just a little bit lower. Things weren’t going well for the beetle so I was determined to help. I was surveying the height of various chairs on hand and concluded I needed the broom stick as well to coax the determined bug outside to freedom. On my tip toes I was nearly to the point of rescue when the largest lizard I’ve seen in a long time moved with stealth like precision from the ceiling to the window. And in a scene out of a nature show the lizard’s tongue lassoed the tasty beetle and it quickly became a rather crunchy lunch.
Its worth noting that while trying to ‘rescue’ a clumsy beetle I could have been denying a lizard’s joyful lunch.
Having received so much kindness from strangers on this journey its been lovely to give a litte in return. Since my suffering has taken the form of various bug bites, NEEM oil has been my saviour. I noticed in yoga class that several yogis were breaking their downward dog for a wayward scratch. So today I brought along the magical oil and offered it to those who were trying desperatly not to scratch away a layer of their own flesh. Itch free happiness ensued!
Later today I had a glorious healing session with an amazing woman, Glenice (meaning Grace). At the end of the session she thanked me – ha! She shared that I was the light and levity she needed today. How wonderful is that?!
And since tonight is my last night at the retreat I had a few unused vouchers for yoga and the steam room. Unexpectedly people approached me with kindness, laughter and warmth during dinner and it felt right to offer each of them one of my vouchers.
I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be living in a place from such abundance . . . but it multiplies exponentially when shared. So go ahead . . . drop a few joy bombs of your own today. You’ll certainly surprise others and you just might surprise yourself along the way too.
I’ve been very very fortunate to receive numerous massages and other body work over the last few decades. And its been a process of being able to ‘let go’ to specific muscles in the body during a treatment. The therapist will often say ‘just relax and let your leg be heavy’. At first I found this challenging. What shape were they going to pretzel me into? Are they qualified to listen to my body and know when they’ve gone too far? What if my lower back is too sensitive for them to manipulate my knee that far across my body? But over time I’ve surrendered my limbs and extremities. I’ve trusted their requests and without exception I’ve never been hurt or even found the need to say ‘stop please’. The release has been gradual and only in retrospect do I realise how far I’ve moved. And yet, there is still room for more.
Yesterday I was receiving an amazing treatment from a man who was quite powerful and confdent in his manner of twisting and torquing my body into various shapes of release. I was able to breathe deeply and go with the flow. That is, until he reached my neck. Suddenly I sanpped out of my blissful calm and was on high alert. I told myself I have a sensitive neck. Its delicate and typically quite sore from holding tension. Could he be trusted to handle my neck with care? My muscles and tendons didn’t think so. I found it near impossible to fully relax while he manipulated this part of my body.
After the treatment I started thinking about my resistance to softening my neck. I was left believing that a key function of this glorious structure is to hold up our melon like heads for the majority of our waking hours. Quite a task! And in a way, our neck is protecting our heads, a gateway to the brain and our thoughts. Am I really so attached to my thoughts that my neck moves into high alert at the slightless perception of threat?! Instead, perhaps my chest should tighten into protection mode when anything gets close to my heart or lungs? Toes could curl as we anticipate rough surfaces and thighs could squeeze shut to safeguard our body cavity. But no, its the head that seems to need guarding.
In time I hope to be able to trust and surrender my neck more and more. Perhaps a shortcut is to spend a bit more time inverted – awake, but allowing our head to do the work, not the neck.
When traveling overseas its a great opportunity to test your patience and calm. Inevitably, nothing goes to plan or as smoothly as you’ve hoped. Flights are delayed, airplane food isn’t making your body sing, you’re too hot, too tired and let’s not forget all of the insects trying to steal your bliss.
Fortunately, its also an opportunity to stand in wonder and awe. Both nature and people frequently display amazing chapters of unforseen beauty.
After too many hours of travel I recently discovered I had packed the wrong electrical adaptor. Regardless, I fell into a deep sleep. As expected, waking found my devices flat. The gorgeous receptionist quickly came to my rescue. First, with much needed coffee and then with the offer to charge my phone using her plug. And she didn’t stop there. She was determined to find me the ‘best price’ for my own country-appropriate plug. It turns out, 7 11 was answer! She even proudly offered to make the excursion herself.
Perhaps it was all part of ‘her job’ but the kindness extended felt beyond her remit and I was incredibly grateful. We all have the ability to go beyond ‘the expected’ and extend ourselves to benefit others. How lucky is that?! Nature does it all of the time . . .
After checking into my insanely amazing treehouse, overlooking the ocean I was captivated by the incredible view. But soon, instead of focusing on the grandeur, my eye was captivated by a stunning butterfly with a bright spot of yellow. In the end, it all matters, the big the small and of course, the noble deeds done for others. We have soooo many opportunities so sink into JOY. Go ahead . . .