On happiness and letting go

On happiness and letting go

Please forgive the rambling nature of this post, I’m just really interested in this sort of thing these days! 🙂


 

Last night I found myself in an overwhelming state of hopelessness–  brought on by severely trivial things. I was failing hard at guitar hero (if anyone remembers that game) and then proceeded to move on to fail even more miserably at chess. Normally I’d just laugh my failures off but for whatever reason my failures on this particular night triggered some sort of emotional shit storm and I suddenly felt volcanically useless.

Do any of you know what I mean?

Those times where you just question everything you’re doing in your life, your purpose and direction, and you wonder how you’ll ever manage to navigate your way back to competence. If you know what I’m talking about, you know how utterly hopeless it feels. At times like these, it feels like the sweeping self doubt will never pass. For whatever reason we seem to convince ourselves that sadness and misery are here to stay forever which, of course, they aren’t. A few deep breaths and a good night’s sleep can help to clarify that.

These extreme emotions on the negative end of the feelings spectrum aren’t something we seek to achieve, they just kind of happen upon us. But for whatever reason, when it comes to the opposite– happiness — we are far more likely to look at it as some kind of epitome of emotional accomplishment and seek it out as something to achieve, rather than letting it be something we simply experience. And the consequence of this is that when happiness does come upon us, we often regard it as fleeting, something that is impossible to hold onto, and that, in turn, makes us even sadder.

We need to accept that happiness, like everything else we feel, comes in waves. It comes and goes. By trying to grasp some kind of permanent feeling of happiness we are actually doing ourselves a great disservice. People will sometimes ask one another, “are you happy with your life?” Which as an absolutely absurd and loaded question. I think it’s far better to strive for contentment, don’t you? If we strive for contentment then we can better appreciate happiness when it comes. Letting go of the idea that we should be ‘obtaining happiness’ and instead just live our lives and give ourselves permission to feel accepting of whatever emotions life throws at us will probably lead us in a more peaceful direction.

The demand for permanence in every area of our existence is the cause of human misery.

That quote comes from U.G. Krishnamurti. I guess all of these thoughts are coming from a series of audio recordings of his that I’ve been listening to of late, along with a whole lot of Alan Watts.

I’ll share one recording which has left a particularly strong impression on me…

 

So what do you guys think? I’d love to get some discussion going and hear some of your thoughts. Please feel free to share them if you’re so inclined. If not, then I’ll just say thanks for reading and I hope you have a great night/afternoon/morning wherever you are.

View from the inside

There’s a kind of stark
bewilderment here,
a deer caught in headlights
kind of a vibe.

I wonder if you feel it
like I feel it.

I can sit for hours
waiting impatiently for
the space between thoughts
to collect into a sort of
zen.

That crystal clear sky,
that endless blue
without fail,
becomes thunder.

Every time I close my eyes.

Lucky or not quite so lucky?

Recently I’ve been paying more attention to the Daily Prompts that wordpress provides. The prompt today was ‘luck’. Seconds later I went to youtube and saw that a channel I follow posted this video:

I thought it was pretty strange that the subject of luck came up twice like that in the span of just a few seconds, but then I remembered that it was St Patrick’s day and suddenly it made sense. I hadn’t remembered that today was St. Patrick’s day, yet amazingly, I still managed to wear green underwear and order a green tea latte. Very lucky, indeed. Or perhaps my subconscious cares a lot more about this day than I do. In any case, the video is pretty interesting and you should take the 6 minutes to watch it if you can.

He talks about how luck can be looked at as a meeting of the conscious mind with chance. Or rather, that our own reactions to the curve balls and opportunities that life throws our way can actually empower us to, in a sense, create our own luck.

For example, today I really wanted to write a blog post here, but I also wanted to practice yoga, and I only had time for one or the other. I chose to go to yoga because I’m trying to make it a daily habit and I’ve been going every other day until now at around 5pm. So I got myself organised, grabbed my mat, walked to the subway, paid for the subway, rode the subway, and walked all the way to the studio only to discover that it’s closed on Friday afternoons.

Was I unlucky because I wasted all that time going there to not be able to practice yoga? Or was I actually lucky because the fact that the studio was closed meant that I had time to write this blog post?

I definitely felt the latter, but in general when I think of luck I tend not to put a lot of weight on it. Luck is such an intangible concept… you can’t really pin anything concrete on it. It’s just a word in our speech that we use to describe how we feel about random situations. When things work out surprisingly well for us we call it lucky and when they don’t we call it unlucky.

On the other hand when I look at my life I do feel very lucky. Or I guess I just feel grateful, but it can’t hurt to try and cultivate that elusive “luck” that may or may not be floating around out there. To me it all comes back to what you put into the universe you get back from the universe. The law of attraction. All that jazz.

 

Did anything happen today to make you feel lucky or unlucky? Let me know in the comments what you thought about the video if you ended up watching it.

Happy St Patrick’s day, everyone!

Thanks for reading xo

I know, art isn’t always pain.

I never know what to write here. Sometimes I open up a new draft and sit down and at worst it’s like my brain got drunk and passed out. At best I’m the airport attendant who issues you your boarding pass and checks your bags, only no one is in line and there aren’t any flights going anywhere, so what am I to do? Just twiddle my thumbs and imagine all the trips I’d love to take.

It’s not just writer’s block or a lack of ideas. I think there’s plenty in my life that would be interesting to write about. I think that’s the case for most of us even though we struggle with the words. I recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert at the behest of one of my favourite co workers. She’s someone who really gets me and could pretty much be me we are so in synch. When she recommended I read it, I bumped it in line ahead of 5 other booked recently lent to me to read and plowed through it in 2 days.  Not because I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert (I only read the first 100 pages of Eat, Pray, Love, although I do mean to finish it), but because it seemed like a pretty relevant book to me at this point in my life. She talks a lot about creative living, inspiring the reader to create, create, create like it’s our birthright… because it is. I remember when I started this blog I felt like it was a major channel for my own creative living. I basically rediscovered my love of poetry because I decided to open a wordpress account one day. A lot of my poems exist because I suddenly had this empty canvas to put them on. This blog, though monstrously neglected, means a lot to me because I know it’s here, waiting for me. My own little universe of creative living.

I think one of the biggest things I took from the book is that your art doesn’t have to come at the cost of your happiness. You don’t have to be pained to be an artist, although it sure fuels a lot of creative work. When I think about it, though, when you’re happy, you’re happy, right? You have all this happiness energy that you exude and pour out into the world, to the people around you, and it’s a joy to do. Happiness energy is readily accepted by those around you, it amps up the happiness energy in others and everyone falls into this trap of idiotic bliss where everything is possible, so why not conquer the world? But when you’re hurt, you have to try to contain it somehow. You have to go to work, to the store, and unless you’re an asshole you have to do your best to contain the pain inside yourself so that it doesn’t taint others. And that’s where the art comes in. Since we can’t let the pain loose like we can with happiness we have to put it somewhere, right? Something has to diffuse it or it’ll destroy you. At least that’s why I think I put so much of it into poetry, and the rest of it I just dance or yoga out. After channeling all my hurt into a poem at least I can look at it and say it was all for something.

I’m not saying I only enjoy writing and creating when I’m miserable, I love creating all the time, it’s just that it feels more necessary and potent at times when I’m at critical breaking point, you know?

Semi-related, but did you guys know there’s an awesome poetry community over on instagram? I’ve been posting a lot of smaller poems there, random thoughts that come into my head (even the happy ones!) If you guys are also on there leave your name in the comments so I can find you! You can find me over there as @taehreh.

Hope you all have a beautiful day!