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I’ve been feeling happy a lot lately. As is my wont I wonder ‘why’ or what is contributing to this. It’s mostly coming from feeling content in life. I like my work; I am enjoying my exercise programme. I am in frequent contact with chums.* I have something to look forward to. Overall there isn’t any thing terribly the matter in my life. Happiness is seldom a sense of fireworks and jubilations. Rather it is a soft warm quiet emotion like that of a cat sleeping in a sunbeam. It’s easily missed or misinterpreted as ‘just life happening, only realized after it goes Yet if you got in the way-back machine and traveled to that moment and asked your former self ‘are you happy?” more likely than not he/she would say ‘what do you mean? Can’t you see I’m busy doing things?”.

My patients on the whole are suspicious of happiness. If they feel good and things are going well ehey don’t believe it to be true, or if they do, they see it as temporary. “I am waiting for the shoe to drop” is often said. That is true viz. some obstacle or problem will come along. However, few say in a bad state “I am waiting for the shoe to pick up”. Happiness feels ephemeral while down feels ‘real’ or permanent’.

Funny therefore how often folks have a sense of happiness as the result of some action, like a trophy or piece of cheese at the end of a maze. This is called ‘The promised land” phenomena. When they retire they will be happy. When they quit that job/ditch that relationship/win the lottery etc. then they will live happily ever after. Three guesses how well that works.

Happiness is both a sense of contentment and an overall umbrella state of being. My life has a lot of problems and shortcomings yet I am happy in general. My symbol for happiness isn’t The Buddha surrounded by demons, serene and unresponsive. Rather it is an inflatable punch’em clown who gets swatted, falls over and gets up, over and over. I would rather not have the house repairs and expensive dental work but life’s good anyway. Or good enough.

The clause in the constitution ‘the pursuit of happiness’ is both comforting and frustrating as it doesn’t say what happiness. On the whole we’ve been snoockered to believe money/power/status = happiness when the data supports having warm relationships is what most matters.**

I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who was asked at a party thrown by a celebrity how did he feel the host earned more money in a week than he would in a year. Mr. V. replied he had something the host didn’t have, and that is a sense of having enough. He was happy while the host had unending hunger to have more.

I wrote this one in the morning prior to my work day beginning. By day’s end I will be tired and probably a bit grumpy and frustrated as well. All the same, I will still feel happiness. The shoe will drop but with its punch I will fall over and get up. Like Mr. Vonnegut I have enough.

*The exception is blogger-buddies. I am woefully behind in my blog-reads. This does not make me feel happy. However I plan to put aside all other recreations tonight and catch up.

**That, and a nice cup of tea.

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February 2023

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018