On Happiness

What is this, where is my water bowl on the deck 1-23-2016
I took up photography because I wanted to capture those moments of beauty, of tranquility, of temporary happiness. It was perhaps because I was unhappy in my own life or at least I thought I was unhappy. Most people do not really understand happiness and expect to be in a state of non-stop glee. Nobody wants to suffer disappointment, rejection, pain, loneliness, and loss. Humans don’t understand that we experience moments of transitory happiness with so many other emotions that fit into the puzzle of life.
We are so bombarded non-stop by the media’s false sense of happiness, by beautiful people, with beautiful bodies, and perfect lives and families that we begin to expect such a fantasy, such an idealized life where disappointment, failure, pain, misery, disease, and loss never exist.
We are certainly happy to be alive but in the tumult of daily life we forget this essential joy. We are happy to have a family, no matter how many or how few members are left. We rejoice in a few good friends and stories from the past that people known to us still remember. We have our daily struggles and pain but, in dealing with them, we are reminded of how lucky we are to be able to resolve them. And if we can’t, we have to move on. Life has a purpose that we don’t understand but we keep chasing it in hopes to at least catch its train. Pain hurts, tears are normal part of pain, and pain, physical or emotional, changes us, it makes us stronger.
Happiness is transitory but so are pain and unhappiness. I take my worries, tears, and deep sorrow to the woods. The solitude and the natural beauty are cathartic. Squirrels, a butterfly, the occasional deer, a fox, an interesting tree with foliage I do not recognize, a spider web, a brightly colored mushroom, and an occasional snake slithering across my path help me forget my problems. The momentary joy floods my mind and there is no room for negative thoughts but for sun rays shining through the dense canopy, drawing strange shadows on the forest floor. Even a deep and pristine snow washes my soul with its white blanket that silences the woods. It seems to silence my negative thoughts.
Worrying or complaining about life’s difficulties would not bring about resolution. Unhappiness and regret about the past would certainly not alter the present reality. It is hard to focus on parts of our lives that are going well because we are too busy worrying or crying about the past. The scars on my soul remind me that I survived the pain and misery in the past and I grew into a stronger, more experienced person.
When people treated me poorly or told me no, I had to shrug my shoulders and I tried harder to succeed, always remembering not to make the same mistakes with other people. Happiness is not just smiling at success; happiness can be a step forward without pain.
Happiness is Bogart purring in my lap, mom’s smile, the hearty giggles of my grandchild, and the sparkle of curiosity in the innocent eye of a child. Happiness is sometimes living surrounded by those we love. There is no magical formula, only moments of joy.
Happiness is taking a chance, loving your life in the moment and enjoying simple pleasures, a sight, a smell, a taste, a hug, the wind in your hair, a warm sweater in the icy cold of winter, or reading a fairy tale to your child by the fireplace.
Happiness and unhappiness are sisters in life, who may or may not like each other, but are connected by a strong bond. You cannot possibly be happy all the time but there is satisfaction in a life well lived, laughing when you can, smile, frown, and cry when fate throws lemons in your lap.
Enjoy it now, happiness and life are temporary.

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