Truth be told, life isn’t always happy. It isn’t meant to be. Sometimes we need guideposts that point us in the right direction. Sometimes those signs are lit softly by beautiful street lamps that coax us in a particular direction. Others are lit by unpredictable torches that flare as we approach them, the resulting fear and blisters send us on another way. A hot stove will always point our hand in the proper direction.
Here are 7 keys (outside of the Four Agreements) that I’ve found that have led me to a pretty happy life.
- Accept the emotional state you are in. Embrace your emotional state, whatever it may be, and cherish it. Resistance to a negative emotion often gives it greater power, while embracing it weakens its grasp. You will then be better prepared to act should you choose to change it. I’ve actually started laughing, when in the throes of negative emotions, simply by saying “I love you” to that emotion while envisioning hugging it like a long-lost love.
- You can’t do everything. Accept it, or you will always live in a state of disappointment. There are wondrous limitations in being human. For example, you can’t fly and you can’t breathe under water unassisted. Those boundaries exist to keep us focused on those miracles we can create, and those acts that make us the wonderful beings that we are. Stop focusing on those things you cannot do, and stay attentive to the things you can. Within those things, you can be a wondrous creator.
- Discover what makes you happy. The path toward enjoying this life is walking a path filled with happiness and joy. This is accomplished not just by being happy, but by experiencing those things that are contrary to that objective. Remember, you may often find what makes you happy in the shadows of things that don’t. Don’t be afraid of being unhappy, there is great value there.
- Your first act of service must be to yourself. I know, this sounds selfish. That’s because it is. Everything we do is rooted in selfishness, even the most selfless-seeming acts ever done. We react, or act, based on who we are in the moment. This means our the desires of our own self motivate our actions or reactions. Even when we do stuff we think we have to do, and not necessarily want to, is rooted in a selfish desire to be something. So, we must first be kind to ourselves if we want to be kind to others. We must first care for ourselves if we wish to be of care to others. We must first take into account our own needs before addressing the needs of others. Failure to do so will result in resentment, frustration, and self-loathing.
- Be prepared to succeed. This is essential to fulfilling our purpose. We all know what we want to do, what we find great joy and passion in doing. We don’t often fear failure or cherish success when we are doing something we love, because there is an underlying realization that there is great success already in doing what we love. The results are secondary to the activity, and the activity usually results in great success, regardless of how we define such success. However, for those of us not doing what we love, we often ignore our calling because we are afraid to fail.
- Don’t be afraid of burning bridges. There are certain roads we should never go down again, and we all know which ones they are. Don’t be afraid to burn the bridges that lead us back to those roads. Burn those fuckers right down to fine ash, and let those remnants scatter in the wind. That way, if you get tempted to go that way again, you’ll find a raging river of common sense impeding you in your moment of temporary insanity. You’ll be thankful for the discussion, and for the fact that you have no choice but to turn around and walk in a different direction.
- Don’t pay attention to what others think. This is pretty vital to my own happiness. I once tried the other way, believing that my own sense of happiness was dependent on others being happy with me. That never worked out so well, so I used that flaming torch (and the many blisters it created) to change my direction. Now, I seek to make myself happy, and I don’t listen to others who may have a different version of what I should be doing. That creates a condition where those who don’t like my version leave, and those who do come flocking to fill that space. See, a win/win for everyone!
There she is, walking past me in our room, her beautiful eyes smiling with her lips in tow, my heart beating for her touch.
A slight breeze makes its way through our slightly open window, carrying with it the smell of jasmine emanating from the incense stick burning in the corner of the room. I hear you humming to the song playing softly in the background, and I just sit embracing every morsel of this moment.
You need to know where I’m standin’ now
That I’m right on the edge of givin’ in to ya
Baby it’s a long way down…
I reach for you, grabbing your hand as you pass. I stand to face you, with a tear streaming down my face I’ll surely blame on the ragweed. Yet, you know better, and you lean in to kiss me, taking with me every bit of fear created in the moments I spent waiting for you. You have been so worth the wait.
My mind drifts to the moments when I’d dream of times like this, of scenes played out like the night before. I’d think about those kisses, of feeling your skin against mine. I’d imagine what it would feel like to have you leaning on my shoulder, sometimes holding me up and at others being held up yourself. I’d see the images of our foreplay, of our friendship never-ending, of our moments a testament to the resurrection of romance eternal.
“You will never need to search for love again,” I vow silently, you somehow getting the message in my eyes. Another kiss, deep and passionate, as I take you to the bed we had left disheveled the night before. Another moment realized, another promise fulfilled.
In each morning after I give thanks to the stars for you, as I had the many mornings before you finally fell for me. In each morning after I touch you in honor of the mornings before I could only hope for such a thing. In each morning after I kiss you tenderly, knowing this great blessing absent the mornings before. There is no question in this love. There never was.
The thing about life is that it is a rhythm of moderation sandwiched between a series of extremes. Those moments without give life to those moments with, with a truth established through the myriad of experience. A man who’s nearly died of thirst will always remain grateful for a drink, and as I look into your eyes I will be reminded of the moments without you and be born within a glow of gratitude.
Just like the Sun rising on the morning after.
I love her. I can’t help myself, and in the whimsical way I see her I dance and twirl in this love I have discovered. I’m like a lost boy, and I frantically search for calmness within the chaos that calls her name. Try as I might to escape her gravity, I feel like a wayward star that cannot help but orbit her entirely.
I’m not a boy. I’m not a sapling cowering in a pinewood forest, hiding from the storm among the giants. I stand tall within the winds, and hold my own against the ravages of a wild, wild world. I growl harshly at the malcontents, while purring softly in the arms of the truest love. I fight fiercely the demons that once wreaked havoc on my mind, and smile a radiance unfiltered when I hear her softly call my name. I am a warrior in this world, and surrender only to the notion that one day, soon, my lips will be what she searches for in the darkness.
I am not lonely, even in the deepest silences of my aloneness. I thrive in the miracle of my own sunrise, never lost in the depths of darkness that enshroud my breaking dawn. See, right there, in the darkest part of the horizon lays that single ray of light; the one that breaks the darkness, that slight hum that softly ends the silence. It is there I whisper her name, hoping one day I’ll hear her answer in reply.
We all know the toughest parts of unrequited love. It’s the longing kiss that never comes, the needy moans of desire that never echo in the night. It’s the moments when those lips seem to be calling, yet all we hear is the silence wandering aimlessly in the space between. It’s the moments when her taste overwhelms the senses, yet there is no spring from which to drink. It’s the waiting, the unanswered question, that seems to send shivers through the soul when you realize there is no other choice. You will be patient, even in your tantrums. You will surrender, even as you fight the bravest battle. You will not drink until she bends her cup to your lips, or the thirst takes your life away.
You have found yourself in the softness of her eyes, and discovered something else as you dance in her sweet embrace. Your dreams can see her writhe in pleasure, as your body responds to the illusion of her sweat pooling on your chest. You awaken all your senses as you dive in unconscious revelry, feeling her hips locked within your grip, her flesh taking all that you can give her. You find life in her salty taste, and purpose in the pleasure of her body and her soul. You were born to be her ship, and she was born to be your sea.
The dreams are sure to end, and you curse your open eyes. The Sun rising in the space just outside your window gives you hope. Perhaps today will be the day. Perhaps before the Sun rises again you will awaken from your dreams and plunge into her waiting soul. Maybe, just maybe, today will be the day the question will be answered and you can begin the story you’ve always felt being written in your heart. She will know you in your most vulnerable, and you will honor her in hers.
That is how I dream of her, and how I live to find that truth. Though a mist she may be today, perhaps tonight she’ll be a reality. The fog does not last forever, especially when the Sun decides it has had enough of such folly. Hands unite in their time, lips kiss at the appointed hour, bodies unite when the Moon sings her passion.
If she never comes, I have had her in my dreams. I cannot bend my heart to the whims of minds far beyond my own control. Rather, I trust the wind that unfurls my wrinkled sails, and the stars that guide my trusting rudder. I trust the compass that points me to the place I’m sure to go, and the path I chosen to get me to my destination. What the fog says I leave to the gods, for the footprints are mine, and mine alone, to make. Trust, to me, the process of my living. Just as an artist trusts his brush, though he knows it is his hand alone that guides it.
In that, I say good night.