Happiness as an indicator, not a drift

“Happy idiot.”
“Happy fool.”

Somehow, our culture has associated being happy with being out of touch with reality, or just being plain stupid. Happiness ends up being viewed as a drift away from what we collectively understand to be “real:” pain, suffering, the difficulty of everyday life where we work diligently at the grindstone, Sisyphus’ endlessly pushing the boulder uphill.

I noticed this as I was riding my bike to work on a glorious Colorado day. I felt happy, open, expanded. As I considered this state (and what used to be an anomaly for me), I thought about how I feel increasingly in alignment in my life. I feel “on purpose” with where I spend my time, finding fulfillment in relationships, work, and expression. My happiness is a signal to me that I’m on track.

Pedaling along, I considered the messages I’d learned about being happy. My lineage is a mixture of Scotch, English, and Irish–very WASP. Being a “good person” was equated with working hard. Sometime in my thirties I figured out that my exhaustion was my paen to this cultural ethos: clearly the more tired I was, the more noble. It took me awhile to understand how my depression and anxiety were wound into this rather stark recipe for life.

Then I found the work of Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Their workshops were a completely new world for me–we breathed, we moved, we told the truth, we felt our feelings fully. And we played. Somehow having a great time and following the easiest path allowed me to shift old patterns in ways that talk therapy had never touched.

After 16 years of learning and teaching this new work (play!) of consciousness, I now understand that my inner well-being doesn’t mean I’m distracted from real life. It means I’m on target. Being in integrity feels good. Feeling expanded is a signal that I’m in Creative Brain, which I’ve learned to trust as the only state from which I want to make any important decisions. I’ve always heard that God loves a fool–and now I understand the mechanics behind that.

Our Relationship Ride Online Community begins next Monday, October 10. You’ll interact with me for two calls per month, plus get ongoing support for your relationship challenges and opportunities through our community webboard. Interested? Contact Verna Wilder for more information. Tell her you read about it here and get $50 off your year’s registration.

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