Mindfulness: On The Pursuit of Happiness


It should be called "The Pursuit of Fullness." The intention of "The Pursuit of Happiness" was never "to be happy all the time." It's not that looking for happiness is a bad thing: trying to find the good in your life is strategic and commendable. However, if we're determined to hold on to this one and only emotion as our life's goal, it's going to be a disappointing road. It's called a pursuit for a reason - it's not easy. Obstacles will continue to be thrown in our paths. Darkness will lurk around corners. Sadness will creep into our hearts. Fear and anxiety will set in. There will be excitement, humor, and delight, too. But that's what a full life looks like. If not for the dullness, how much would we appreciate amusement? If not for fear, how would we relish in the comfort of safety? If not for sorrow - what would joy look like? Happiness is a lot of things - and can be defined more than a handful of ways. It's what we should aspire to, but without seeking fullness first, we can't fairly expect it.

For me, today, happiness is night-walking with my boyfriend in a park - the warm breeze tickling our bare arms. It's sipping a smoothie that's melting too quickly. It's standing in the shower an extra three minutes to let the warm water encase me. But fullness is all that and more. It's realizing my anxiety about the state our world is in, feeling sorrow for those whose lives have changed forever - our neighbors who've been tragically hurt in the past month. It's the sliver of hope I hold on to for my hand regaining some mobility and the immediate defeat I feel every morning when it's the same heavy extremity that was there the night before. It's the nostalgia for my family and friends I see but twice a year. It's the excitement over what my future holds - and the fear of the unknown that follows straight behind. Today, that's my life. While it's not all happy, it is full. And that fullness - that yin and yang - is what I need to continue accepting and pursuing.

What does happiness look like for you today? What about fear, or sorrow, or hope, or defeat, or tragedy, or elation, or excitement? How do you define your life's pursuit? Please leave a comment to let me know.