Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The pursuit of happiness

Following on from Emilie's blog yesterday, she asked me to share what drove me to make the changes and the take risks I have in the past and planning for the future.....

It is simple, the question I ask is 'am I happy?' Happy in the true sense. Not the happy you get from buying a new dress or having dinner with friends (though they are beautiful moments). It's the happiness deep inside that you know will hold you up when things around aren't going the way you would like.

I wasn't happy and this quote sums up the catalyst to my changes, 'big changes come from chaos'. It is my personality to be 'all or nothing' and it certainly has it's pros and cons! I didn't want to go to Africa for a holiday, I wanted to travel from north to south and take 8 months about it. I didn't want to go to a yoga class once a week, I wanted to challenge myself and understand what I was made of and go to India for 6 months. All my travels have been born out of a fascination of this awesome world and to understand others and how we all mesh together. Looking out at the horizon and knowing I am part of that and my happiness (along with everyone else's) matters!

'Chaos' doesn't have to be that you feel crazy or out of control. It merely means it is a bump in the road, a moment to stop and assess. Your landlord may give you notice to move out of your amazing flat, you may get made redundant or get an exercise injury. Notice life's challenges and then life tends to also highlight alternatives for you.

So my drive is my innate right to happiness and I find that is a difficult concept for some people. There is a road of 'education, job, marriage, children, work, holidays, money issues, work, retire....' that a lot of people walk down without thinking 'am I happy?' If you are then fabulous! Project that happiness into the world and you will get it back ten fold. But if you are not happy then never feel you don't have the right to change things.

In Chinese medicine many illnesses start at the emotional level, subtle changes and stuck energy from prolonged periods of stress, anxiety, suppressed emotions or sadness. If this stuck energy is not moved it can slowly manifest into more physical symptoms. In Chinese medicine your emotional health is of utmost importance. Just think how long it takes to recover from a cold if you are stressed and unhappy. I am sure we have all felt the effects of a stressful day - the feelings of being drained and miserable. We might notice we can't process food we normally would, think as quickly or get the energy for the gym. Over a prolonged period, these can be your signposts and whatever decision you take at these signposts will alter the direction of your happiness and your health.

I chose to value my happiness and my health above anything else and have challenged myself, made sacrifices and am always evaluating my thinking patterns. I know too well how life can get complicated and choices seem out of reach but really life is meant to be simple and enjoyed. I constantly have to take myself back to this thought as its not easy to keep on top of it when life is happening around you. Time is a precious commodity and highly underestimated. Some quiet time alone, even a few minutes, can help you make and cement any decision.

We are a complex, amazing and one-off feat of engineering living on a round rock with a soft centre that is being held up in the middle of infinite space. We have huge learning capacity and a sense of awareness that no other species have. We should celebrate this and defy what you think you 'should' be doing and change to what will fulfil you and make you happy to your core.

Zen dog

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