Everything but…

Photo by Gordon Adler

I have been feeling very keenly lately the urgent need for variety in life.  All year, as my posts have reflected, I have been intensely focussed on one current, ongoing goal, which has really taken all of my energy.  The broader questions I have been asking myself lately have been:

  • What is really going to make me happy and healthy?
  • What is happiness, anyway?
  • Are there things in my life that I need to get rid of?  Are there things I need more of?

One resource that has helped me alot has been Eckhart Tolle‘s book, ‘The Power of Now’.  It is his first book, and the audiobook version was given to me by a friend of mine.  Although many would classify it as ‘New Age’ or ‘Self-Help’, I have found it to be fascinating and necessary to my understanding of my own needs as a human being (and not just as a singer, a student, a woman, etc.).

Through this resource, I have been introduced to the idea that even though you should feel empowered to change any situation that does not make you happy or does not fulfill you, the acceptance of the present moment is really the key to ‘happiness’ – or, that feeling of calm and contentment that we generally associate with the word ‘happiness’.  Eckhart Tolle suggests that our notions of past and future are just projections of the mind – that all we have ever had is the present moment.  And it is true: the present moment is the next moments past, and the previous moments future.

Another thing has helped me in my pursuit of happiness – the release of my attachment to immediate success.  Of course, for me, I am just attempting to release this attachment and have not achieved it in full.  Overcoming odds does not happen on the first attempt – as indicated by the word, overcoming.  To overcome implies struggle or effort to bring oneself over or around a significant obstacle.  Sometimes, luck will allow us to overcome odds immediately, but usually the overcoming requires discipline and will to succeed.

Practically, for me, this might mean:

  • Taking a break from my dogged pursuit of my current goal to do something different and refresh my perspective – hopefully, taking some time this summer or next year to pursue yoga teacher training, cycle across Canada, travel more…. the sky is the limit!
  • Releasing my concrete view of the future and being open to more diverse opportunities, even outside of singing.  This might mean writing, dancing, teaching, guiding, or any other activity that might fall into my path!
  • Increasing laughter, pleasure, activity, and friends in my life.

How about you – what do you need to be happy?

One thought on “Everything but…

  1. Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your article, it reflected well with some of my own thoughts over the past years. I just wanted to recommend you to watch a talk (and perhaps read a book) of Matthieu Ricard that address this topic in a way that helped me understand the concept and common misperceptions of happiness.
    Matthieu Ricard did his PhD in Molecular Biology at Pasteur Institute but then went on to become a Buddhist Monk in Tibet. I did not read the book you mention but undoubtedly the author draws heavily on Buddhist philosophy so I’m pretty sure this will be of interest to you:

    His 20 min talk at TED conference

    I also recommend his book “Happiness”!

    Best,
    Samuel

    Like

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