I am sitting at the kitchen table in my daughter’s house in Herriman, UT. Through the window in front of me, I can see an early spring snow flurry lightly coating the back lawn with white. My daughter just got home from work, stylish and beautiful (much more so that she believes, but isn’t that true of many of us?). I’ve been sitting here, writing and emailing friends for a couple of hours. I am at peace. I am happy. It is all too rarely that I stop to acknowledge that kind of happiness, simply being in a place I want to be, doing what I enjoy doing. Too often, I want the Capital H Happy. You know. Everything is going well, the future looks bright and, by the way, any unhappiness from the past is resolved, forgiven or forgotten.
Like many of us, I am inclined to find my happiness in the past and the future. I look back at years gone by when things were happier, likely forgetting the troubles that were swirling in my head when then was now. And I look forward, formulating the circumstances that will make my future happy, if only I can effectively make use of now. Does anything suck the joy out of a moment like evaluating its effectiveness? It is easy to be mindful on the beach at Maui … or watching my granddaughter’s cheer team perform. But waiting for such peak moments to provide happiness, for most of us, is a gray existence. There is a crass … but true … 12-Step saying:
If you have one foot in the past and one in the future, you are likely
crapping all over the present.
Yes, I cleaned that up a bit. Or, if you need of something a bit more literary, this from the Persian philosopher, Omar Khayyam:
خوشحال برای این لحظه است. این لحظه زندگی شما است
What? Don’t read Farsi? Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
How often do I stop in a peaceful moment and, without consulting my long internal checklist of Things That Make me Happy, just say …
How much happier would I be if I did it more often?