The world is so full…
This morning A and I were out for our daily walk and stepped out of the house to find an amazing sight. The Jacaranda tree outside had shed its gorgeous blossoms all over our garden and the road outside. As we walked further, we noticed that there were many Jacarandas in the colony and they had just spilled forth their richness to form a purple carpet for us throughout. Yesterday morning, I noticed a lovely sunbird, its back gleaming blue in the sunlight, chirping to itself. My carnation has finally put out one carmine red flower. The more we walked around the colony, the more we found things to admire, whether it was the showy bougainvilleas which had almost aggressively burst forth into bloom or the dewy subtlety of frangipani flowers, birdsong from the myriad trees and the plumbago flowers which looked almost neon blue against the sober dark green of the plant. The Robert Browning poem, which is a favourite, came to mind, "The world is full of so many things, I am sure we should all be happy as kings…"
For a while now, I've been wanting to explain what I mean by saying Happiness is a choice, because I do truly believe that and if only more people were to realize it, the world would be much happier. It all began with an epiphany years ago, when I was in a relationship that had started going south. It was a very important relationship for me and created an immense amount of trauma. There were times when I'd break into tears on my way to work. And then one day, as my auto was passing under an old Jamun tree around CP, it all fell into place. Why should I expect someone else to make me happy? I should be in charge of my own happiness. I should find things and interests and people in my life who make me feel alive and add to my fun but the essential core of happiness – to believe in yourself and your ability to carve out the life you want for yourself – has to come from within you. Once you realize that and you get going, life takes on a whole different avatar. You tend to notice so many more things created by Nature or God that delight the senses. You find new reasons to smile or laugh. You find a purpose for yourself, even when life takes different turns to what you had imagined and you find yourself in a situation you had not foreseen.
I also feel that once you have realized this and taken charge of your own happiness, you find the strength for many things - be it living live to the full, with many activities and purposes, or be it getting rid of things that don't contribute to your happiness, whether it's something as simple as clutter or as complex as a relationship. You learn to change the things or situations that don't give you happiness into things or situations that do. I remember reading in a book a lovely anecdote which had to do with the Bible – an angel came to Jacob, and he said, "I will not let thee go unless thou bless me". I know many people who have decided to adopt the opposite point of view. They sit around, sad and defeated, and seem to be asking other people to 'give them happiness' or 'make them happy'. They don't have the energy or the resources to go out and find a purpose for themselves – and I'm not saying it needs to be a noble purpose, it could be as simple as cooking, reading, collecting recipes or gardening. And the more they brood on their wrongs but do nothing about it, the worse they feel and the sadder they get.
There's a lovely children's story by Maurice Maeterlinck called the Bluebird of Happiness. Two children set off to find the Bluebird because they feel that only once they find it can they be happy. After travelling through the whole world, they come back to find it was in their garden all along. That pretty much sums up my take on happiness!