Happiness: 24 Hours At a Time.
I am really trying these days to live in 24 hour increments. It is hard, despite the relatively short time period...I jump into the past and future a lot. I know this just makes me human...it also doesn’t serve me well.
One of the reasons I go back to the past or jump into Tomorrowland is because I am afraid. I am worried that I will lose something I “have” or not get something I “want”. Vicious cycle of existence...
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
“If you are aware that you are alive, that you have twenty-four hours to create new joy, this would be enough to make yourself happy and the people around you happy.”
But I don’t think like that...until I read something like that. Then I think, “I am such an asshole, I didn’t think about making anyone happy today...including myself.”
But that isn’t true. If I go granular, I can see that I did a lot of things today to make others happy:
I showed up at work
I got groceries after work
I fed the dog and took her on a hike
I reached out to friends who are struggling
I paid a debt that I owed promptly
I called my mom
I listened to my son
I petted the cat
I fed animals
I was kind to the check out clerk even though she annoyed me
I came home and was available for hot tub time with my son
I was available for my daughter after my son went to bed
And for myself:
I made coffee for someone
I listened to another person tell me things and really listened to what they said instead of changing it to be what I wanted to hear
I went for a hike
I honored my commitment to myself by writing even though I was tired
I didn’t eat sugar for the 24th day in a row
I watched my reactions with detached bemusement
I said kind things about myself to myself
I did the best I could to love myself and others
That is a pretty darn good list. And I am sure I can improve upon it. I can do better tomorrow because I inventoried today. When I review my day like this to see where I brought happiness to others and myself, I can see the new joy that I created. Joy as a goal. What can I add rather than what can I take?
But, for me, I can only do this if I live in the confines of a day. I can’t add happiness and joy to my life or the lives of others in yesterday or tomorrow. I only have the now. It is the only time that ever really belongs to any of us....ever.
So I am alive, I have had a good 24 hours of time to create happiness for people on this earth. That makes me happy. I didn’t do it perfectly or with everyone, but I did it and I intend to do it again tomorrow. Where can I be of service to bring joy and happiness? Can I participate in the most basic joy: being alive and present?
For me, fear cannot live long in a thankful and loving heart. Happiness and joy are the great fear eradicators. Because happiness and joy know that which fear can never know...that right now is all we have. It is the only time that is truly and completely ours. It is the only place where we can choose to love, to be happy and try to make others happy. I am going to keep trying by owning the moment...one day at a time.