Happiness doesn’t come walking toward you on tall legs, it blows in gusts

ghost ranch 2011 047 Ghost Ranch light

Happiness is something that comes in very small bunches, like gulping air. When people think about happiness they think of a big thing, a big white house, a tall fence, large lilies growing along the fence. They think of the big spaces they would like to live in, and the way people would get up and be nice to them when they walk into restaurants.

For the record, when I walk into the local Mexican dive and the local sushi dive, they are nice to me! They kind of have a special yell they do when I walk into the sushi bar with Mark. That yell welcomes us into the sushi bar.

When I think of happiness, I know there are moments when I have been completely happy:

Running down the dirt path in my bare feet as a child.

Salmon fishing in the Georgia Straits.

One of my first dates with Mark, we ate pasta salad on a picnic blanket and collected pine cones.

The smell of the Atlantic ocean when I was in college and would break away from work and go to Nag’s Head which was then all dunes and wild air.

Watching my kids at the park roller blading, horseback riding.

Teaching my kids to ice skate even though I wasn’t very good at it.

Coming home.

Our wedding. I remember walking toward Mark and thinking, “This was a really good idea.”

When Rio came out, the first time I sat at the opera house and listened to the music, I felt part of something larger.

Holding my first book in my hands, I sat in the back yard under the palm trees.

I’ve never had the right job or the right house, the right back yard or the right car, but I have had many moments of happiness.

Maybe it’s the moments of sadness that make the moments of happiness so much bigger. It’s experiencing suffering that makes us appreciate gladness.

I have experienced sadness, but it is the happiness that I like to think about now. It is very easy to become a person who dwells on bitterness. Because there is much suffering in the world, and it is so easy to pick it up in baskets and carry it around. It’s heavy, but you keep carrying the basket until it becomes you. Your arms are basketed, your feet are bricks. You are no longer a separate person carrying a basket of guilt brick by brick. You are now bitterness; it’s in your eyes, your blood, your hair, you breathe it.

That’s why I don’t want to carry that basket; because I want to fly.

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Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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