Happiness! So many things have been said and written about happiness. Everyone is looking for it, everyone is chasing it…Happiness can be lost, found, there are keys to it, doors to it and some other doors that are opened thanks to happiness…The old people say that the older days were happier, although there were wars and famine and poverty and death. Many people tend to hide in the happiness of the past and don’t even believe that they can also be happy right now, in the present! Happiness is a granted for children and most adults think that they cannot be happy. Again, this is a matter of mindset and perspective. Happiness is such a big discussion subject, because people have forgotten how simple it is to be happy.
First of all, happiness is different to joy. Joy is the happy feeling we get every time something good happens and it stays with us for as long as the trigger exists. Happiness is forever. Once known, it can never go away, except if we let it or we forget that we know what it really is.
Happiness is that state of mind that is simple to achieve. Being present at the moment and pay attention to everything good that happens in our lives is a way to achieve happiness. Gratitude for even the smallest things goes hand in hand with happiness. Taking the time to admire a little, fragile flower coming out of concrete, pay attention to the tunes of the birds announcing that spring is close by, look at the clouds and the shapes they make, in other words, look at the world like we used to do when we were little; in awe and surprise and as if we see something for the first time, taking nothing for granted. Children always smile heartily when they see someone they love, always express their feelings, their enthusiasm, without minding if they talk or laugh too loudly or too much (as if there is such a thing as “laughing too much”!). To them, the matters that are in their minds at the specific moment, their feelings of the time are the most important of all. Children are mindful all the time, thus they are happy. They appreciate everything; their parents, their friends, their pets. They speak to the animals and the plants, they speak to themselves, they perceive things we don’t. I read somewhere that until the age of 5, children’s brain works mostly on Theta waves…Children meditate constantly! They are in deep touch with what is going on within them. Even with no toys, they can play. Even without knowing a language, they can communicate! No boundaries apply to their thoughts and imagination, because they don’t think of boundaries. This is why there are no boundaries to their happiness! So, simple as that, we should start thinking like children again, find our inner child and listen to them when they want an ice-cream, no matter how many calories it will have, or dance in the middle of the street for no reason at all, or for every reason in the world.
Children are so close to happiness, so much in touch with it, because they learn and they mostly learn by experiencing. When we grow up we stop experiencing, we stop appreciating the sense of risk and playing and getting out of the box…We set times and schedules and ages. “You are old at 50”, “Sex is not important for a relationship, only love is” (of course love is the most important thing in a relationship, and let’s not talk about respect, freedom, appreciation, pride…But isn’t sex important as well?), “Don’t act like a child”, “When will you grow up?”, “When are you going to become a mother?” (this last one is one of my favourites!). Human beings are body, mind, spirit, soul…all together in a wonderful, unique bunch! Ignoring aspects of ourselves mutilates us, makes us lacking people. Societies are good and, I believe, no human could live alone or should live alone…But we have set so many rules that go beyond our humanity. We must be careful all the time, about how we eat, how we speak, how we laugh, how we flirt…There are rules about everything and anything…and nothing at all! What these rules teach us is that we have to be in a certain way in order to be liked, loved or respected, when the truth is that those who like us and love us better do so for the real us! Our differences make us unique and make life so much more interesting…But we cannot tolerate different, it makes us feel unease, awkward. We have forgotten the myth of the ugly duckling and how happiness is abundant to everyone.
Life has become so rushy, so exhausting, that we do not live anymore. We just run, work, pay bills, sleep, wake up and start again, not only anxious about getting through the day, but also anxious about reaching the goals others have set for us. We don’t stop, we don’t take breaks. We don’t let ourselves daydream, or stargaze, or do stupid and “unnecessary” things. I have heard so many times things like “Even if I had a lot of money, I would continue working, because you never know/people should work, or else…/what would I do if I didn’t work?”. Wait a moment! I would continue doing things I love, and if this was the same to my work, I would continue “working”, although I would do it for free, to help as many as possible. But, it sounds completely stupid not to know what to do if you don’t have to wake up before the sun every day, doing the same things as the day before, rushing all the time, just because you don’t know what else to do…I would read, go out to meet friends, sleep, practice yoga, learn new things, travel around the world, I would adopt more furry friends…People nowadays, forget to breathe. We need social-media posts to remind us that life is not for granted, that we should feel and let the others know it…We need yoga classes to remind us how important breath is. And I like yoga, I am a big fan of it, but it should be our time with ourselves, our moments of truth, our time to get in touch with our bodies and connect our bodies and minds, not the time when we are reminded that we need to breathe and closing our eyes to relax is all right…That all reminds me of one of the times I was in London. I was coming back from my little excursion of the day. In the metro, I was sitting next to a guy whom we were at the museum together with. We started talking and he started talking about how he didn’t understand Greeks and their affection for free time. As a Greek, this was Greek to me. What did he mean? I talked to him about all the things I do during my holidays and he insisted that no holidays are needed. Not that people should have less holidays, but that holidays should not exist because they get you out of schedule. I could only laugh out loud…I didn’t answer to him, there was no need…You can’t convince someone that they need to be happy from time to time. I didn’t even ask why he came to London for the Weekend, but no reason to insult him either. After all, it was a cemetery museum, so it might not have been fun for him, which could excuse his out-time. This story, still makes me laugh and it is one of the things that remind me how happy I am and that I should stay this way, even if only to look at people staring, not understanding…
Attuning to nature and Her rhythms is another way for someone to be happy. Natural rhythms show that the only stable thing in life is change. Once you get to understand that, no burden seems too big or too serious, no problem is uncontrollable anymore. Attuning to Nature’s rhythms, help us connect to our inner rhythms, attune to that sense that all is one and we have choices. We choose how we think, we choose what we decide, we choose our truths, stories, life! We choose. And along with choice there is always responsibility. We are responsible of how we feel and thus, we are responsible to allow and help ourselves feel happy!We choose what we believe and which rules apply to us, and the happier we choose to be, the more reasons we will have to be happy. Happiness goes hand-in-hand with the verb “to be” not “to feel”. One either is happy or not, it’s our choice!
So, happiness is connected to love, compassion, freedom, respect, appreciation, craziness, playfulness, Inner Child. Happiness is something we can share, we can teach…It is actually really important to show to people that they can be happy. Happiness is an emotion that grows by sharing, it becomes stronger and with deeper roots. Happiness is not an ideal, it is our right and we don’t even have to chase it. Happiness is always there, waiting for us to see it and become one with it. Happiness is pink, it feels like little giggles in our belly, like when the airplane takes off…and it is as much liberating! Happiness can help us see the world in new eyes, see ourselves in different colours, because everything is more beautiful when we are happy! If you ask a child why they are happy, they will give you numerous simple answers, because to them, happiness isn’t something unknown. And they do not need much in order to be happy…Some candy or a simple touch will do the miracle.
The other thing that seems really strange to me is the question “How can you be so happy?”. What does “so” want in this sentence? Is there an amount of happiness that is accepted and if you go beyond that, then there is something wrong? People have always been telling me that I am always so happy and looked at me as if there were something wrong with me. And because of their confusion between happiness and joy, they found it crazy when I cried out of sadness, when I wasn’t in the mood for jokes. Their words usually are “This isn’t you”. But this is exactly and precisely me! I am human, I am not a robot set on “joyful mode” forever. I have my moments just like everyone else. And coming from Greece and not Himalaya,I sometimes get carried away by circumstances…But this is me, having good or bad moments. Being happy doesn’t have anything to do with that…Actually, I am grateful and happy for my bad and sad moments as well. They mean that I am still learning, evolving, expanding. They mean that I am present, I am alive, I am able to feel I choose to be happy, every day! And I know why I am happy! I am happy because I grew up in a wonderful family and had a happy childhood. I had a normal adolescence when I used to fight with my mother every day and we can now laugh together about that time. I am happy because I live in a secure house, with the people I love and my cats and dog. I am happy because I have found the man of my life and even at my most difficult periods I had people around me who loved me and cared for me. I am happy because I had the chance to study what I love and I have learnt to never cease learning. I am happy because I have found that Gothic music and magickal studies are not only for the films. I am happy because I have received a lot of love and I am able to give love back, I can feel! I am happy because I already have a niece and there is a nephew on the way, and I have students with whom I still meet and it is always so nice to see that you have become part of someone’s life, especially through an ungraceful role. Of course I have moments that I feel stressed or bitter or sad, maybe…But these moments are like my moments of joy…They go away as soon as the trigger goes away. The reasons I have to be happy are more important and are always there!