“Peace- it does mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”- Anonymous
Isn’t this so much easier said than done? As humans, we have this desire for things to go a certain way and create expectations of how things should be in order to be “happy”- which in the end, only creates more suffering. Instead of living in each moment with wonder and curiosity, we are so busy creating stories in our head about whats next and how things should be or ruminating on whats happened in the past. All of this takes you away from the only moment you really have- right now. Happiness has become an idea, something you need to work to obtain- which is not really possible. You can add things in your life that may help you feel better, have more energy, increase your satisfaction and bring you joy (eating healthy, spending time with friends and family, working hard, going on new adventures, exercising), but there is no set of rules (“if this… then that”) on how to be happy.
This is especially true for the beginning of a new year. Many people start January 1st with a list of things that need to change with an expectation that they will then be “happier, more successful, the person they have always wanted to be”. We compare, evaluate, criticize ourselves, focus on what we’re lacking, all in hopes of reaching this fantasy image of the person we would ideally like to be. However, instead of reaching this ideal- people often end up loathing in shame and self-hate- never feeling good enough. Happiness has no pre-requisites- however, and it is only attainable right now- in this moment. So, what if just for this year, you make a resolution different than any one in the past that will bring peace, joy and vitality. It is not hard, but it is a conscious practice- to bring willingness into your day to day experience. This means to be willing to experience the ups and the downs that life inevitably will bring- being present in each moment- which allows you to experience everything more fully- not avoiding the pain, but making a life worth living despite it.