Closer than you think: Happiness

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Taken in Central Park, NYC

In the middle of eating dinner with my wife and her sister — the most delicious dish of leek, PSB (purple sprouting broccoli), and cauliflower smothered in cheese with garlicky spring greens — we had Brian Buckley’s Band playing in the background. As my wife and her sister chatted away, I was sitting in the lap of happinesses. There is something mystical about the combination of great food, great company and great music. The happiness felt incredibly nostalgic, with a mixture of childhood memories, and continual sensation of the feeling you have when you get goosebumps. Those prolonged moments of bliss were so astonishing my wife and her sister didn’t even notice my joyful tear drops. Some questions arose in my mind as I was experiencing it all: Why can’t I feel like this all the time? I pondered and realised that all the worry, disappointments, anger, negative thoughts were holding up this grey brick wall and preventing me from feeling happy in every moment.

There are endless amounts of articles, websites, youtube videos on the subject of happiness and how you can obtain it. Ten, seven, three essential ways; all encouraging people in to keep reaching out for it. Many people think they need to have a specific job, person or car to experience this seemingly untouchable destination of happiness. The most difficult thing a lot of people will avoid; is face themselves. It’s too painful, too sad, takes too much time— a genuine cop out, excuses practiced so well as children that we now carry with us into adulthood. Happiness is behind all those difficulties, waiting like a treasure to be taken. Cultivating evasive justifications, procrastination and resistance is what’s causing all the misery. To make it more complicated, the thoughts that are associated with discomfort, anger and angst, lead people away from their happiness.

People aren’t stupid. Everyone knows exactly what makes them upset and, at the other end, incredibly joyous. We all think that it’s not alright to feel the bad things we feel — we learn this growing up. However, it’s important to remember that “negative” feelings are still valid feelings and they need just as much time and freedom to express themselves in order for us to access happiness, just as we put the time in work to make money. If we invested the same amount of energy into actually giving ourselves empathy, hugs, words of encouragement; that grey wall would diminish quickly.

Pay attention to your thoughts! When you’re becoming angry or sad, take note as to what you’re saying to yourself. When you’re feeling light in your body, smiling,977A0386F take note to what you’re saying to yourself. Do this often enough and that trusty good ol’ subconscious of yours will take over for you and that happiness you want will shine brightly. Many of you will want “practical” ways of doing it. If that’s the case, then you’ll need a pen and paper and to write those thoughts down — better yet, use your smart phone, get a note taking app and type your thoughts in, write the situation and feelings associated with the thoughts. In the end there really are no steps, you just have to pay close attention to yourself. Don’t be so quick to throw out ideas as to what is creating your emotions; really dig in and find the core of how you’re feeling. Happiness is much closer to you than you think.

A Walk in the Sand Dunes

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Taken near Eastleigh, UK

I was leaving from my weekly college class the other day, the sun shining directly onto me in the direction I needed to walk in; you can see from the photo above. I was in a state of detachment from the world and the people around me. I looked up, the sun rays engulfed me and immediately I felt like I was walking in the middle of a desert. With traditional Japanese music playing in my wireless headphones, my journey to the train station turned into a stroll through a sand dune.

I could see myself dressed in a long brown cloak with white wool clothed material, along with a grey turban to shield me from the suns rays; walking in a vast desolate space filled with gently blowing sand. I hold a long rope that sagged in the middle, three feet in front of my camel, I walk. A clear sky, filled with an unbelievable amount of blue that you can almost touch, the sun was fixed in front of me on the street. I could imagine only seeing my foot prints behind me as I walked in a direction that only had sand as far I could see. The sounds of the music in my ears made me feel like I was a lonely merchant walking to a far new land in search for products for business and trade. As I come to a crossing, a car passes in front of me, I approached the other side walk stepping over a puddle; I blink my eyes and see in my sand dune, the heat waves rising off the ground in the distance. A small pain in the ball of my right foot propelled me to imagine the hot sand going through my sandals, the slight frictionoman-sand-dunes_1124684c between the sand and my barefoot giving me a massaging sensation. The shuffling of what was in my backpack made me think that my camel and I were walking through the hot desert than actually being in our modern city street. I walked by a school where small children were playing outside, the thought of hearing the winds moaning in the distance as I place one foot in front of the other through the sand. Feeling more removed from my current reality, I bask in my imagination that seemed much more fulfilling.

I raised my head up to the sun, letting its warmth fill my face. I imagine being at a small oasis, poring cool water over my hot sweaty head. The soothing feeling of these opposing sensations fill my heart with calmness and tranquility. At the train station I stand in a stairwell, I can hear the wind making a gentle whisper near the hand rail. I move closer and I place my hand out as the wind seeps through my fingers. The sand falling through my fingers at the oasis, the orange light of the dusk sun. The world I’ve created is coming to a close as the train pulls into the station. The music drowns out as reality is back in motion.

Serene (Originally 27-Jul-2014)

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Photo taken by Hudson River, NYC 

Calmness rests on the shoulders of the light-hearted, strength comes from the foundation of the present. Little pressure is needed to make anything move, believing in what has always been yours, is the anchor to balance. Stillness in the mist of chaos is where the true self lay, to search needlessly outside the self only ages the process. Control is the illusion that the ego thrives on, serenity is the true essence of the soul. Focusing on the present moment unshackles the grips of the future and the past, here and now is all you have.