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Monday, February 10, 2014

Happiness is not more happy thoughts

Okay I'll admit that I am a self-help junkie, a positive visualizer who often switches between Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, and the Queen of Television for inspirational word and advice.  And so far it has gotten me pretty far in both my personal and my professional life.  But then I look at all the projects I still want to accomplish and I feel like I'm no where near to where I'd like to be.  That sinking feeling enters, I get stuck in my own head, and continuously resort back to some self-help book looking for an all-in-one-quick-fix.  Or I begin to write out "my purpose" in life hoping that will re-align me and bring back my "happy." Sometimes it helps...well temporarily.

And this keeps repeating.

The other night, I found myself running on the treadmill while listening to some Emeli Sande and the next thing I knew, I picked up speed and began sprinting as though in a marathon.  Not really sure where this burst of energy had come from, my body was going for it so I left my mind behind.  The music continued and before I knew it, I was doing split jumps on the treadmill and my arms began doing crazy movements. My heart was beating and I knew I had to get off the treadmill before I hurt myself (or anyone else for that matter).  I danced out of the gym, into the elevator, down the hall, and up to my condo.  It didn't stop there.  My music turned up and I found myself in one of the rooms with nothing other than the city lights as my backdrop.

And I danced.  It was freaking exhilarating.

And I did it again.

And again.

With the rising dialogue on happiness, how we can attain it, how we can keep it, I realize that happiness is simply this. It's Movement.  It's Progress.  It's listening to your body before your head gets in the way.  It's not sitting down and thinking more "positive" or "happy" thoughts or revisiting your 5-year goals and plans hoping they will help you 'figure it out.'  This is actually driving us into more misery.

In my opinion, happiness involves embracing the uncertain and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.  It's being fully engaged in something without knowing where it's going to take you.  It's in this space where life takes place, where the real you is revealed, where you're tuned in, and the mind, body and soul vibrate as one. Can we have more of this please? 

The self-help industry has exploded in the last decade as people seek answers for happiness. By now everyone (smart enough) knows that true happiness is found inside but with this knowledge, I find that we are spending even more time trying to "find it" within ourselves that we are sadly running circles around the real us.

So the next time you click on those articles that read "5 Keys of Happiness", "12 Scientific Ways to be more Happy", or "12 Things Happy People Do Differently", I suggest stop yourself while your ahead and just get up and do SOMETHING.  For me, that something almost always will involve dance or writing but for you, it could be something completely different. Make Progress.  Just Move. Better yet, throw all of your goals and plans out the window and see where life takes you next...

"Life is a dance, and when you are dancing, you are not intent on getting somewhere.  The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance itself."  Oliver Burkeman in "The Antidote :Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"


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