- Posted by Lisa McDonald
- On October 5, 2016
- 0 Comments
As the years go by, I realize more and more that our happiness doesn’t depend on our circumstances nearly as much as we think. It is more about seizing the fleeting moments of sheer beauty and pleasure as they present themselves…often simple things…unexpected and unplanned.
Just the other day, at the end of a long, rough day, my dog looked at me with those sweet pleading eyes asking for one more walk before the day’s end. I can rarely resist that sweet, innocent, scruffy look. Out we went! We didn’t go far as my back was aching that day but found a small patch of grass to sit on as the sun started to set. For ten minutes, I felt the sun on my back, the grass underneath me, and watched the sun and the breeze rustle the grass and light up my dog’s sweet brown eyes and whiskers and I thought to myself…what an unpexpected, perfect moment.
On the stroll back, some beautiful, faint music caught my attention. As we approached, I noticed an intimate gathering of people and there in the grass of the garden was a string quartet with that gentle breeze and the last bit of sun shining upon them. They were playing “Yesterday”….I stopped and stood still with my eyes closed (behind a tree!) and utterly savored the sweet sound.
In the quiet of the night, after my loved ones were asleep, I thought about this more. About how life is always going to be full of curve balls, change, the unexpected, good days, bad days….it’s the fleeting and unpredictable nature of this life we live no matter our current circumstances. Yet, we all sometimes have that illusion in our minds of what needs to happen and how things need to be for us to finally have peace and happiness in our lives.
Time goes by and we realize this perfect set of circumstances never comes. Even in that hypothetical set of circumstances, life would remain messy, sometimes painful, things would go wrong, loved ones sometimes disappoint us, but there would also be moments of sheer beauty….just like there are now…that if we stay awake to notice and be fully present for…can heal us, nourish us, satisfy us.
Here is a beautiful quote my sister shared with me this week:
“Fiercely commit to every moment you find beautiful and remember it. Record it. Fully, wholeheartedly inhabit it. Awareness is one of the greatest things you can possess in this life as it is as important as the very air we breathe and water we drink to stay alive.”
We talked about how the more we let go of expectations, the more peaceful our days. We have tried to replace expectations with the mantra of, “I wonder what will happen today?” This allows us to feel more “awake” to life and that whatever happens, we can handle it. It also allows us to notice and appreciate the little treasures and fleeting moments of joy that might have otherwise just passed us by…unnoticed.
We have to remember not to fall prey to thinking we’ll enjoy life when work is not so busy, or when my children are less demanding, or when I have a different job, or when I meet the right person, etc. etc. etc. This list is endless.
If we can just let go of our fantasy notions of what “happiness” is and stop missing the beauty that weaves in and out of our everyday lives…and allow ourselves to notice it. This is what happiness is. Capturing these moments and letting them touch us. It isn’t some sustainable place where we arrive when those circumstances are finally “just right.” Instead, they are mixed into the stew that is our life. Let’s not let them pass us by. This is our life. Our real, messy, flawed, heartbreakingly beautiful life.