The last 2 weeks in Hawaii have given me lots of time to reflect on the past few years leading up to this life changing decision. I have been thinking mostly about work and how much of my time it actually took up and what my reasons were for working so hard… It turns out that I work to make experiences and memories.
We are all working so hard and for what? A nice car, a big house, clothes, shoes? Sure, all these things are nice but when you listen to stories from people, do they tell you about the size of their house they live in or the brand of watch they are wearing or how much cash they have in their wallet?
No, they certainly don’t! The best stories and the best memories are about real connections, real adventures, real laughs and the unexpected. It’s great to work hard and provide yourself with stability and nice things but don’t forget to experience life; spend some money on the experiences, the moments, and on helping other people… make time for adventure and make time to connect with people.
I can guarantee you that these are the things that you will look back on in the end.
Happy Tuesday my Yogi friends and remember what you are working for!
I am happiest when I am in nature. For those who haven’t been following along my journey in the Annapurna region, this is my 6th day of trekking (please click on the hyperlink if you’d like to read my travel blog: ABC to Lower Sinuwa). I have spent 6 days completely in nature and have surrounded by absolute beauty, listened to the sounds of birds, insects, rivers, waterfalls, and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees and that’s all I need to be truly happy- to appreciate and be content. So, that got me thinking, what is happiness? Is it the reliance of other people or things that make us happy or is it being content with what you have, enjoying and appreciating all that life provides you with and living in the moment?
In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you learn to let go?
– Jack Kornfield
Conditional happiness is not true happiness. Attaching your happiness to another person or object means that you are projecting the cause of your happiness on the condition that you will have this person/ thing in your life. This is dangerous because they then control your happiness and it is an entity outside of yourself. To me, this indicates a lack of the most important feelings to be nurtured in every person. Don’t get me wrong happiness does not necessarily mean being free from attachment but it certainly does not depend on any one person or a condition.
True Happiness or unconditional happiness
True happiness has no reasons such as a new love, a better job or having fun with our friends. The unconditional happiness that is our true nature is always there, no matter whether good or bad things are happening – it’s the essence of what and who we are. Unconditional happiness is built on a foundation of self-worth and self-love. A place of self-love and self-worth will enable us to stand alone and rejoice in any experience that we have had, knowing that it was an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve as a human being.
This takes me back to the 3 questions posed at the beginning of this blog: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?
It seems to me that unless you are unconditionally happy you can never truly answer any of these questions. If you are unconditionally happy there will never be failure in your life, simply a learning experience for the soul.
The first thing that matters is how much you have loved. I think what is really being said here is that it’s important to allow love to be the basis for our thoughts, words and deeds. It is also about treating people with loving kindness. It is enjoying and appreciating all that life provides you with.
The second part has to do with “living fully.” To me this means living pro-actively, going out and having lots of different experiences and ideally, learning as much as possible from all your experiences. It is also about living in the moment. How can you live fully if you are always focusing on the past or the future?
The third part talks about letting go. This could be a multitude of things- money and material possessions are at the top of my list of things to let go of. Then there is social status and referring to yourself as your position or profession. Next, your negative beliefs and opinions will have to be let go of as well to be truly happy. It is being content with what you have and who you are.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”- Albert Schweitzer
Today, walking through Kathmandu Durbar Square (See my travel blog entitled: Kathmandu Day 2- Durbar Square & Freak Streetif you are interested in where I got my inspiration for this piece), I was reminded of a Japanese legend that I’d like to share with you today.
According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.
To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as wabi-sabi.
Due to the devastating 2015 Earthquake in Nepal, much of Durbar Square was destroyed but now the rebuilding and restoration is proceeding. With the many tell-tale signs of repair and restoration in progress, there was beauty everywhere; from the cracks in the brick work to the remains of fallen buildings.
And this beauty in the imperfect is known to the Japanese people as wabi-sabi. I will keep this blog post brief as I have a feeling that I will find more wabi-sabi in Nepal that will inspire me to write about this topic again.
Update: I did find more INSPIRATION to write about wabi-sabi again, please click on the following link if you would like to read more about it: Nayapul to Ulleri.