2015 – my turn

comedy mask 2

Thanks Belinda – good thoughts.

Sadly, perhaps, I reckon you get to a stage in life where you have in fact learned enough lessons, and the real problem is remembering them and applying them. These are a few hard earned teachings which came back to me during 2015.

Happiness

I read recently about “the happiness lie” – i.e. that we have been deceived into believing that happiness is the natural and expectable condition of human life, and noted the stern, somewhat puritan warning that “Happiness is an occasional by-product of purposeful engagement in a greater cause.”

There’s some truth in that. I think though that there are some facets of happiness that, whilst they may be fleeting, are nevertheless worth savouring when they happen:

  • When you’ve earned it – like the moment of pleasure garnered from having dragged your arse up that long steep hill on your bike, and now you have the sweeping, painless, sublime descent
  • When you do something good for someone else, without expectation of reward
  • When you stop yourself just in time before doing something bad, negative or hurtful to someone else (generally someone you actually love), in that moment when you could have gone one way or the other
  • When you’ve been mindful or open-hearted enough to notice something you would otherwise have missed – like the jacaranda petals carpeting the footpath all purple
  • When you look at the results of something you’ve worked really hard at, knowing you did everything you could and should have, and it’s come off
  • When you fix something that’s broken or not going very well, and afterwards it works like a charm (especially anything to do with technology, like replacing your wireless modem)
  • When someone notices and values something you’ve done for them, and tells you and says thank you.

Gratitude

The most moving thing I read all year was the little piece in the SMH from Adele Horin, called “Dear reader, my luck has run out”, in which, despite the fact that she is about to die of cancer in her early 60s, she nevertheless reflects on all the things in life she has been lucky to have.

It’s good to be reminded of your blessings. I realise that I could hardly have been born in a better time or place, with for example free tertiary education, affordable housing, no limits on how much I could tip into super, and I still end up with all the benefits of today’s technology.

Turning up

I was reminded again and again that the more opportunities you provide for things to happen, the more likely you are to have those memorable experiences and insights – like sitting on the couch to meditate, or sitting in front of your journal to write, or standing in front of your white board to strategise. If your creative inspirations are going to be dictated to you by the universe, then you’d better spend some time listening for them.

With a bit of luck, I’ll remember a few more lessons in 2016 that the university of hard knocks taught me, and I’ve forgotten. Fingers crossed.

(from david white)

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