Happiness is a choice. Some are blessed to be gifted happiness by default, without needing to work at it. These fortunate souls are blessed, but most will take their happiness for granted. For the rest of us, the majority of us, happiness is a choice, it takes work. It requires a willingness to confront the scary stuff from our past, and sometimes our present, that we have pushed away.
Except we have not pushed it away at all, we have pushed it inside, deep down inside of ourselves. It may be deep, and hidden, but it is there, and it hurts us, even when we don’t notice it. Maybe we have become so accustomed to the pain that it has become dull. Our normal. Like a splinter embedded deep within the skin. It is locked away where we can’t see it, under so many locks and keys that we can barely see what it is anymore. All we see is a confusing mass of locks and jumbled keys. But it is there, affecting, damaging, polluting, sabotaging, holding us back. Hurting us, and the ones we love.
Until we make the decision to take the action necessary to open those locks and expose that darkness, our happiness remains tragically stunted, numbed, hindered, half-hearted. It is the tragedy of our species. It is the tragedy of us. It is the tragedy of you.
If you are truly happy then congratulations, I urge you to practice gratitude for that happiness you have been bestowed, you are one of the fortunate ones. The practice of gratitude for your happiness will serve to make you even happier. Win! But if you are not happy, not truly happy, then you have a choice, an opportunity, a gap to fill, dare I say it, a destiny to fulfill. You can accept where you are at, accept that this is what you have, hope that it might get better some day…. or, OR, you can make the decision to do ‘the work’. You sit there now, and ask yourself the question
“Am I truly happy?”
As someone who made that decision, I urge you to do the work. the juice is worth the squeeze. I made that decision out of necessity, I had no choice, my life was at a dead end, my health devastated, my mind gone. It was work or die. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been difficult, confronting, unsettling, confusing, and alienating. But it’s also been an enlightening, fun, eye-opening interesting, exhilarating and crazy experience. Two years in, I have no regrets, sure, I’ve messed up, I’ve made things messy, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve upset people, I’ve upset myself. But here I stand, two years later, beating my fist against my chest shouting:
“I love life, I love me, I love you, HEAR ME ROAR”
Maybe you are happy hoping for better days, or maybe you are lost, but don’t know where to turn. Hoping is unlikely to change things. Being lost, but not seeking directions is likely to result in only staying lost. I have the directions, but I cannot give them to you until you ask for them. Lord knows I have tried to give them to the people who I know desperately need them, but alas it does not work. The desire to seek must come from within.
‘The work’ What do I mean by that?
Doing ‘the work’ is opening the door to our pain. It is saying “enough is enough, I’m ready”. It is welcoming the discomfort. It is engaging in the process of self-enquiry. It is finding the willingness to address our past. Learning the art of vulnerability. Prioritising the truth above all else. Accepting nothing but the truth. Staring at our guilt. Watching our shame. Washing ourselves in our sadness. Facing down and shaking out our fears. When we do this, it allows some of the darkness that secretly fills parts of us to dissipate, to unravel and float away, and in its place flows what? Love. We open those locks, we allow ourselves to experience the torture of that long forgotten, carefully hidden pain all over again, sometimes repeatedly, as many times as is needed until we have learnt the lessons. And then, in its place, we shine the torch, the light, the love fills the cracks. We slowly but surely become reborn.
The darkness is part of who we are, it is an element in the formula, it has been a part of our creation. To deny it. To hide it. To suppress it… in my view, is a mistake. We need the darkness to appreciate the light. We need the darkness to teach us the lessons. We should accept the darkness with humility, and grace. The darkness is a gift. A gift to be grateful for. This is how we grow. This is now we evolve. This is how we fulfill our potential. This is how we find true happiness. How we shine our light and love out into the world. This is how we FIND OUR BEST FORM.
Maybe you don’t think you have any darkness. Maybe you believe you are free of trauma. But how do you know? Maybe it is hidden so deep you’ve forgotten it is there.
Are you ready to do the work? Many of us, myself included have lost our jobs. Now is the time to do the job you came here to do.
Now is the time to step up.