Life is made up of moments. Everyone who practices mindfulness will tell you that. Eckhart Tolle teaches us that. There is only ever now and now and now.
Happiness is noticing and appreciating those moments. Like the last rose of the season. Like sitting with my coffee in the winter sun on the outdoor couch, which is only outdoors because we haven’t gotten rid of it yet. Like hearing my sons’ chattering in the kitchen in the middle of the night as they make popcorn and I am falling asleep. Or putting a roast in the oven on a cold Sunday night with everyone home safe and sound.
People look for happiness in all the wrong places, mostly outside of themselves, not realising that it’s so close. They don’t stop long enough to notice the moment they’re in. They are always worrying about the future or the past, or what other people are doing. And I am no exception. But I’ve also learnt to notice the moment. Like snuggling my sleeping newborn in my arms in between feeds. Noticing the walk into the university grounds on my very last day there, which is now ingrained in my mind. The sparkle of my new red crystal earrings.
Life is so short and also long if you live with unhappiness. And I’m not even talking about mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. I see people who seem to be constantly unhappy. Always complaining about the world around them. Finding fault in everyone and everything. Looking for happiness and never finding it, wondering if it’s even real.
Some might take me for one of those people, but they don’t know me very well. They don’t pay attention to all of me and, really, it doesn’t matter. I no longer care what people think.
I love finding joy in the moment. At those times, I realise how little it takes to make me happy. My kids, coffee, sunshine, warmth, the ocean, roses. Surround me with enough of those things continuously and I wonder if I could be happy a lot more of the time? But moments are enough. They’re enough for me not to despair and wonder if happiness will ever find me, because it already has.
A constant state of happiness would require greater and greater dopamine levels and more and more things to make this happen. Mere moments of happiness allow us to experiences actual happiness amongst the steady feelings of every day.
Hopefully, you are content enough every day, as I am. Yes, I am exhausted and yes I wish more for myself and my kids, but overall things are pretty good. It is in my nature to want more, to strive for more. I am highly ambitious and materialistic, and I can observe that in myself and put it aside to experience contentment with my circumstances.
I love having a steady income and I am aware of the price I have to pay for that. I also make sure that I continually reward myself and the boys for paying that price with regular gifts of shoes, clothes and earrings. The other day we bought new pillows and it felt so expansive to be able to do that for us.
On the weekend we went zip lining in Lorne, walked on the beach and had ice cream. I love that I can afford that and that I have those things within an easy drive from home. I am living in the moment, which may not be very wise; after all, we all must plan for the future, but for right now this feels right.
So take joy in the moment, inhale it, imprint it on your mind. Recognise the moments of happiness for what they are and realise that happiness is not as far away as you think.