“Happiness is not in our circumstances but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.” (John D. Sheerin)
I read this quote after coming back from a weekend camping trip. I ended up being very busy with the work of putting things away, and doing laundry, so I never got to write. All day though I thought about how true this quote is.
I think that people often confuse other emotions with happiness. Experiencing the awe of a rainbow, or even a double rainbow, gives a warm feeling inside, but that is not happiness.
The warmth of a fire, or experiencing the warmth of friendship can be consoling, reassuring and comforting, but that isn’t happiness.
Great joy accompanies many events in our lives. We can go on a vacation where we see and experience many exciting things. There is a swell of feelings within us to accompany that sheer joy, but that isn’t happiness.
I could go on all day listing feelings that come from experiences in life, but none of those would be happiness. As I have written recently, happiness is about being in a state of contentment and harmony with my surroundings, and my life.
The sad truth is that I can experience joy, excitement, awe and many other emotions without truly being happy. The fortunate truth is that I can experience sadness, remorse, longing and many other “negative” emotions, and still be happy.
This particular trip was one where we didn’t really have an agenda. We decided for this trip that we would spend the majority of our time relaxing in the campsite. On Saturday we were visited by friends for dinner and a campfire. Throughout that day we simply relaxed.
On some trips we go out and find adventure. Whether we are hiking somewhere interesting, searching out lighthouses and waterfalls, or any of a number of other treasured adventures, we like to be out and active. For this trip we elected to be still for a while.
I can tell you that over the course of the weekend I was happy. There were a few challenges along the way (I have a leaky faucet in my camper that I need to repair), but those didn’t interfere with my being happy. For this weekend I was content in my life. And that, more than anything else, is why I am happy.
This week will hold many challenges at work. There are changes coming in my management structure, important reports to get out, and some difficult statuses that have to be addressed. But I am facing this week a happy person.
I don’t know for how long I will be in this state of contentment and harmony with my surroundings, but for now I am, and it feels very good indeed.