I am experiencing an upswing in life right now. I feel in flow, I feel momentum, I have magic and serendipity unfolding before me. I am deeply happy. My family is close, my marriage bonded, my business thriving, my hobbies nourished, my health granted… and while this overall feeling of life satisfaction has been building since we moved last November (almost exactly one year ago!) the last two months have particularly been blissful and full of excitement of dreams coming true (more news on that soon!).
So naturally I was a bit stumped one morning this week when I realized how much easier it is to be unhappy. That being happy takes effort. Effort to actively receive all the goodness. To repeat to myself “thank you, thank you” to avoid the fear of it all going away. As if I can mess up this happy streak! Wanting to be all the right things or do all the right things to preserve and hold on tightly to this magical time in life. Even though I know that holding anything tightly constricts life and ends flow.
Happiness requires vulnerability. In its essence it’s an open, receiving energy. Whether it’s an embrace from a lover you’ve opened up to or the silence of being alone in nature with the sun on your skin and a cool breeze to help you remember you’re alive. Happiness carries a newness with it, opportunity and movement. There is an exchange between life and you. And in any sort of exchange between co-creators there is risk, vulnerability, and uncertainty. Control is not part of the happiness exchange, surrender is.
Unhappiness is stagnant. It keeps you right where you are, protects you from judgment and attention (wanted or not). Because unhappy people are invisible, they hide, they turn away, they sit back and lean away from themselves and what’s possible.
I find myself spending active mindshare and energy to allow myself to accept all the goodness coming my way. That requires trust and risk-taking -- playing bigger always puts us on the edge of what we know. Whether we dip a toe or take a big step into the unknown, we’re moving toward what we’ve always dreamt of and wanted. I have experienced what feels like a full system upgrade in an instant simply by having the courage to say yes to something that felt scary but joyful and divinely orchestrated.
It’s in those moments when we go beyond the edge of ourselves that we enter life’s receiving realm. Where one step toward what we want is met by life taking 100 steps towards giving us what we want. This is where happiness lives...because it’s where we finally see we are not alone. We are not alone in creating what we want. We are not alone in seeing what’s possible for ourselves. We are not alone in believing that we deserve more than good enough.
When I experience unhappiness, in some way it feels comforting. It requires no effort, it allows for retreat. I close off, I stay small, and I resist any sort of change. A form of giving up comes over me which then releases me of any responsibility to create. I become passive, apathetic, and comforted by not risking where I am for better. Being unhappy feels safe.
I have never been diagnosed with clinical depression, but I’ve had waves of unhappiness that manifest in my body and mind in a totally different level than discontentment. I am speaking of the unhappiness that can be passed off as “life is just hard” or “this is just a phase” or that bllllaaahhhh feeling you just can’t seem to shake and have given up trying to. It’s easy to stay here. It’s hard to open yourself up to better when it takes effort and faith and trust and a step outside of what you know toward what you want. And this is often where I meet people for the first time. As a coach, the first call I get is the manifestation of a spark of hope and interest for better. When enough momentum or a spur-of-the-moment realization motivates the mind and body enough to coordinate and contact me.
In these first discovery calls we talk about what you want, where you are now, and what the fear is (often fear is their biggest motivator). I share an experience of coaching, fueling the spark of possibility within them so they realize they don’t have to go after more happiness alone and that better is possible. And when they say yes to coaching, they are saying yes to learning how to be happy. It’s a mindset. It’s a set of beliefs. It’s a realization within that you are a powerful co-creator of your life with life itself. And yes, it takes effort, but the effort isn’t rewarded with equal measure, it’s rewarded 10x, 100x.
I can’t count the number of times in my life where I have said, “I can’t believe it. A dream is coming true.” Not one dream, many many dreams. And none of them were created alone. They always involved another -- a lover, a client, a friend, a horse, a forest. Happiness is connection. And it does require openness. And when we open to acknowledge what we want to experience and take a step toward it in courage, miracles happen.
If any part of this post spoke to you, I’d like to invite you to have a conversation. Take that spark and take the next step. And just be there. No need to think about what could be or what that means, there are no goals other than connection and seeing you, you seeing us. And we’ll go from there.