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happinessWe all seek it. At least I think we all do.

Some of us seek it openly, and some of pretend that we aren’t.

We all have different ideas about what it is.

We sure have different ideas about how to get it.

I’m sixty-two and so I have some idea finally.

Most of my life I was always “going to be happy”. It was always a future thing, and it was always tied to a “when”, as in, “when I ___________, then I will be happy.” You can fill in almost anything. When I get the job, lose weight, find the right man, buy a house, move to California, finish this housework!

The trouble is, about the time you achieve that goal, well, another three things are looming to be lived through or fixed before you can relax and be happy. Of course, during all these waiting periods, I would not say I was unhappy, just not the thrilling feeling kind of happy I believe happiness to be.

I believe we are all very different, yet we are all very alike really. We are each a collection of components and when all the components are oiled and working, I think we just are happy. It’s really that simple.

Well, obviously not so simple, or we’d all be very happy very quickly. Sometimes we do need to get through this or that before we can really let go and BE. Let me give you an example.

Less than a year ago, I lived with my husband on his ancestral land in Iowa. We rented out part to farming and we lived way back in a meadow. Our home was pretty much dead in the center of a square mile, a square mile that had maybe three other homes on it. So we had room and privacy. We would get snowed in during winters sometimes for weeks. We would get mudded in during the springs. I couldn’t walk because of snow and mud for several months a year. I could not go and come as I wished.

My husband has some health issues, so he was doing good to get the wood cut and in the stove. The landscape, long the joy of cattle every fall, was soon growing up around us. Our gardens suffered from too many weeds and my flower beds were overrun by weeds and other native plants. I grew sad and unhappy. Finally we determined to move. It took us a year or more before we could wrap up all the details. During that my health suffered as digestive issues plagued me. My marriage suffered. I gain weight. I was usually fighting off depression.

I spent a lot of time looking over the country to find a new home. I finally settled on Las Cruces, New Mexico. I say I, because my dear husband was prepared to go almost anywhere. We packed up our stuff in a POD, and sent it to El Paso while we drove to New Mexico and then to a motel where we “lived” while house hunting. In about a month we had found our home.

We have been here since last May. We moved into our home the second week of June. My life has changed so much. I walk six days a week in the desert, just steps from our home. We have a new dog, Diego a border collie mix. I go to the pool three days a week and enjoy a vigorous workout. I still cook meals from scratch. I go to the Cathedral church here in town. My marriage is relaxed and happy. I enjoy my crafting. I read again. My health issues disappeared. Happiness is my companion.

What a difference a place makes!

Yet, all was there for me to capture in the meadow, but I got fixated on my problems and forgot the bliss. Oh the bliss may have been a good deal harder to find there, but it was still there.

So I guess the lesson is–follow your dreams, but don’t let your dream consume you to the point you don’t enjoy your present. My husband feels sad thinking how unhappy I was, and how it took us so long to get here. But no doubt I learned a good deal in the waiting.

Happiness consists I believe in keeping the disparate parts of our human being in balance. The components of each person consist of:

  1. The body. What we put into it, what we do with it. So it’s food and exercise. How do we treat the physical being we are.
  2. The mind. Our minds are gifts. We need to exercise it much as we do the body. We should always be learning new things.
  3. The soul. We are spiritual beings regardless of what you believe about God or religion. We exist within a network of life that is interconnected. We must nurture that.
  4. The creative spirit. We each have a gift or sometimes many. We can do something in ways no other person can. We are unique and no one can duplicate what we can do. We need to nurture that part of ourselves.
  5. The emotions. We are feeling creatures. We need love and acceptance, and we need acknowledgement. We need to give love and caring. We need to empathize and sympathize. We need to listen and uphold others. We need to express ourselves in our vulnerability.

We need to balance all these things and we need to engage in them daily. Through the next five posts, I’ll be broadening out these concepts giving ideas about ways to humanize ourselves.

I am now in that balance. And it is the balance that allows me to in the most odd of moments, to grin inside, shiver slightly, and burst forth with a smile as big as the moon. I am HAPPY. And it’s a grand feeling to have, and a grand way to life.

Come explore with me, and let us trip the light fantastic!