Since when did happiness become a luxury?
Feeling alive, joie de vivre, well-being, joy, peacefulness, ...why are these things a "bonus" in life?! How did they evolve into options that we choose to leave alone?
There seems to be no end to the things that precede this optional way of being. We need to get that job done, get the kids fed, make a decent income, make a better income, lose 10 pounds, begin (or end) that relationship, build that business. And that's the problem - there is no end. Choice after choice, there will always be another opportunity to pass over well-being.
I've mentioned it before but it is worth repeating: How we do one thing is how we do all things.
If we treat today as though it is a stepping stone to something better, if we are willingto sacrifice this moment in pursuit of the next, we will never find that elusive peace with being. The only moment in which we can live is this one. So if we choose to skip this one, thinking that by so doing we can be happy in the next one, we cheat ourselves out of life.
I started the Encaustic Experience a couple of weeks ago, and cannot begin to express how the participants have changed my life. This process of creating a class and seeing how others journey through it has created a swell within me of "happiness" - of feeling ALIVE.
During that time, I've had conversations with a few others who aren't feeling so alive. Phrases such as, "I have to make a living" and "I don't know who I am outside of work" have popped up. Have-to's, shoulds, and expectations dominate.
It physically hurt to hear those words spoken.
They are spoken often, by so many. And there aren't too many eyebrows raised when someone utters them. At the most, they tend to lead to one deep conversation that is forgotten after the drinks are gone and morning comes.
And yet, each morning now when I wake up and experience the same day that those complacent souls are, but in such a different way, I wonder why. Why I am so blessed? Why do I get to feel this way?
I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do know one:
I don't see my well-being as an option.
If I am not able to engage with the experience as it is, I am going to do something to change it. I will make peace with the moments as they flow by and perhaps introduce a bit of creative influence. Painful moments, blissful moments - I invite all experiences. They are opportunities to practice being present with what is.
While I often forget my practice, I never forget my self.
I know this seems selfish. Ironically, I had to first accept that it was selfish to know that pursuing my well-being is one of the least selfish things I can do. In knowing and honoring myself, I understand that there is no self. I am knowing and honoring you. That person over there. This life.
Whatever you want to call it - happiness, being-at-peace, feeling alive, well-being - the label doesn't matter. The experience matters. And it isn't a luxury.
You have a choice.
Choose this moment.