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Happiness Tag

Truly Madly Deeply

313834_1988220076323_1567958031_31512884_860394615_nThere’s been increase in interest in happiness over the years.  Is it related to demographics, to having more money rather than less?  Is our  happiness related to a sense  of meaning and purpose? Is happiness a transient emotion? Is it a matter of perception? Alain de Botton writes in The Architecture of Happiness “(that) which we anoint with the word beautiful, alludes to a state that, on a psychological level, we can describe as mental health or happiness.

Some research hypothesizes that happiness is linked to the content of our moment to moment experiences. For centuries, spiritual traditions and hermetic philosophy have affirmed that human happiness rests in the present moment. We really don’t have to go anywhere to find the truth of our happiness because it is contained within the core of our whole being. At this very moment.  Our happiness is inherent within us all. Vanity Fair Managing editor, successful playwright, Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce gave her her 18 year old daughter Ann this advice: “for the moment the main thing is to get what little happiness there is out of life in this war-torn world because these are the good old days, now.” A year later Ann, her only child, died in a car accident.

So “These are the good old days now.” Forget the “bucket lists” (a trite term I have always found leaves a clanging sound on the tongue, especially when most bucket lists appear more like silver platter lists) Live life now. Each moment of each precious day.

On Christmas Eve BBC’s Helen Fawkes discovered she had incurable ovarian cancer. She made a decision to live the life she had always wanted to experience and discovered that “these are the good old days now.”   Helen’s “list for living” included getting a dog, moving to the countryside, exploring the ancient ruins in Rome, taking a speed boat down the Thames, having her book published, learning to play poker and seeing penguins in the South Pole. Externals which for Helen, hopefully  brought  her the happiness and fulfilment she was seeking.Penguin

Like happiness, what we hold dear to our hearts will be different for each one of us. It may take an act of will or the unlimited power of imagination to focus on the essentials and trim away the superfluous details that wallpaper the borders of our days. Turbulent emotions tear across our lives like tornadoes. They shatter our equilibrium and sense of calm. When we disengage from our addiction to melodrama and gossip, and treat ourselves with love and kindness we free ourselves of self-importance and the self-pity that clouds our contentment. When we focus on what is right, rather than on what is wrong, the world will mirror our state of consciousness. When we embrace change and let go, we live in the wonder of the unknown and release a spontaneous flow of Divine Intelligence into the material domain.

Psychologists purport that there are two essential human emotions: pleasure and pain and we respond to these through love or through fear. Love expands our energy field and fear contracts it so what we perceive as pleasure will be interpreted as happiness.

house burningOne way to bring our scattered thoughts to a midpoint of clarity is to imagine that an asteroid is hurtling towards our earth. All life on this planet will be irrevocably obliterated. What would be important then? What would define us? Foster Huntington reflected and defined what he truly loved and valued by  imagining the scenario of a burning house. He collected a few precious things and photographed them. Then asked others to do the same. His beautiful book is titled “The Burning House”. It  is filled with poignant photographs. A haiku that speaks of the uniqueness of our humanness and the vagaries of our selective perception of happiness. burninghouse_kate molins
So today, breathe consciously. Be deeply grateful for what you have right now. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Tell people you love them. And  celebrate the important things in your life.

“These are the good old days now.”

Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden


No More I Love Yous

Love never dies when soul meets soul. Our souls never stop loving the significant people who appear as actors in the various scenes in the play of our lives. Because once we ignite the flame of love, no matter how briefly, or how fiercely, devastatingly, that flame burns and chars, Love endures, long after we part, long after we die.

I met my former husband for lunch yesterday. He appeared taller, younger, and happier than I have seen him in  years. “She’s the One,” he said, eyes sparkling. “I’m going to ask her to marry me.” Still sprinkled with the glitter of his happiness, I left this man I had lived with for 26 years, my heart a – bloom with flowers of joy for him, for her. There are never No More I Love Yous. The container of marriage may fracture and break under the avalanche of an affair, a cot death, an intrusive in-law. Love affairs are extinguished not with a bang but a whimper, realtionships stagnate as the current of passion dwindles to a trickle. Even in the No More I love Yous, are small seeds of renewal.  There are really no “lessons” to be learnt so we do not make the same “mistake “again.  Our marriages are the holy sanctums for the in-breath and out-breath, the cycles, and twists, of our soul. From the moment we say our wedding vows, through all the in the years we may spend grinding off each others’ rough edges, even in the heartbreak and despair of the endings, are our soul’s rites of passage; our circling Home.

A divorce can be a sacred act of renewal, if we transcend the power plays, the anger,  discard the role of Victim.  Love can be transformed into a caring friendship if we are willing to step into Gratitude for all the memories, and experiences of our past, that have made us who we are today. When we are able to look into the eyes of our former tormentor-husband, wife, lover, mother, father, friend – and feel the lotus flower of compassion blossom in our heart, then we will know our own Wholeness. The ancient Greeks knew that Love wears interchangeable costumes: Agape meant the deepest sense of true love, that sense of contentment and mellowness, the holding of another in the highest regard. Eros was understood as  passionate love, sensual desire, and intimate love, which did not have to be sexual – it could be the power of beholding something beautiful within that person. Philia was the love of friendship we feel in community and family. So what is this thing, called Love? Even after death, divorce, frozen years of separation, the sacred vows reverberate. We may find, after the atomic fallout, the love we never dared admit, even to ourselves, is there still. We find a wedding photograph, a piece of jewellery, a gift given in the innocence of that love that carries a fragrance of sweet memory. There is remains a fragment of something noble and pure in the the vows we made all those years ago.

These days when I go to weddings, what I celebrate is the Hope that comes, an invited guest, to the bridal table. The noble belief in a love that will endure as the dark storm clouds gather on the horizon. First marriages are sprinkled with Hope and Great Expectations that we believe no man will tear asunder. Second and third marriages are more sober affairs. Jean Kerry said wryly, “being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left.” We are not always wise in the choices we make. We do not always listen to our inner guidance. But in our fumbling, in our folly, in our delusions, will always be the seed of great passion and enduring love.

Says Marion  Woodman,  “real love happens when soul in the body meets soul in the body. Not in that disembodied world of spirit where we want to be perfect, but in life, where we’re changing the diapers of the one we love who is dying, swabbing the lips, doing things we never thought we could do. Stripped of all pride, of everything unreal, we have no false modesty. Where soul meets soul that is Love.”

How can there ever be No More I Love Yous when Love never dies. It simply changes form.