Clap Along: Happy or Complacent?

[Bookend] So the first prompt for Writing 101 is a simple one: free-write about anything you want to for 20 minutes, and then copy that free-writing into a blog post. Here’s where the synergy between pen & paper journalings and blogging work to my advantage. I was thinking today as I wrote my morning pages that there was blog-post fodder in there. Little did I know how quickly that blog-post would be taking shape, and how (mostly) un-edited an exploration of the topic it’d be…* [/Bookend]

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.

~~ Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

happyOkay, I am wrestling a bit with the happy/complacent thing. I definitely appreciate how in the last couple of retreat weekends there’s been an emphasis on reminding us to claim our love of life. More specifically: claim the way I love my life (not just life in general). I feel the importance of that, the way it’s something that moves beyond the victim identity. (And I’m realizing this happy/complacent thing could turn into a blog-post, and Connor’s language about victim mentality gives me an easy entree that doesn’t require me to give up all the secrets and intricacies of the center’s teachings.) And I’m conscious of the ways my classmate noticed my habit of deflecting happiness around the current state of things — always saying something like “There’s still more to study,” or “I’m still me in it, so I have a lot to keep learning.” So it’s interesting to me. I can feel a little bit about how that niggling piece of dissatisfaction, the eternal questioning, could be an expression of the victim-self. Always looking at my life and finding it wanting, rather than appreciating it fully today, exactly as it is. So I’m wondering how to have a fuller appreciation for all of the ways I have been given (have helped build?) a really good life. Really feel the gratitude of that, a certain peace of mind.

And yet. I don’t want to sink into complacency. I don’t want loving my life to take me to the place where I think I’ve arrived. Where I allow myself to fall asleep in my privileges, to play princess in the castle. To believe that because I’ve been gifted with a good life, I can just enjoy these comforts and stop studying, stop growing. Wallow in my privilege and to hell with anyone else and their challenges. So that’s part of what i fear will occur if I were to permit myself full-on happiness with my life, rather than the milder happiness-with-a-question-mark (or happiness-with-a-caveat) that I usually permit myself.

It’s an interesting level of self-distrust that fear conveys. If I’m “too happy,” I’ll get lazy. But if the study, the writing, if this all comes so naturally to me — then is the fear even remotely on target? It feels rather way off the Soul’s Truth of things. Like if I can more fully trust and honor the ways I love the learning, the ways I love awakening (both on an individual and a collective level), the way my Soul Ph.D. is connected (at least in part) to the gathering of knowledge and the synthesis of all these facts and articles and insights that come my way. If I can more fully trust that, then there’s a space to trust that if I were to be fully happy in my life, then I would move more fully into my soul’s natural expression. So allowing myself more happiness with loving my life could create space for more gathering, more learning, more awareness. Possibly see the potential here as loving my life being an awakening movement, rather than an anesthetizing one. Wow. Definitely a new angle on the proposition.

[Bookend] Thus endeth the free-write. More than 20 minutes’ worth and without the super-messy on-ramp of my opening paragraphs. Not quite as coherent and well-transitioned as the posts I normally try to write, but as a kernel of an idea, not all that off-the-mark from other things I’ve written here. Cool! [/Bookend]

* I did make a few silent edits, to protect the privacy of a couple individuals and fill in an extra clarifying word here or there when I had drifted too far into speaking my own private language. I definitely worked to keep those edits to a minimum.


Image credit.


One thought on “Clap Along: Happy or Complacent?

  1. Can I just say that I am loving your blog? This speaks to some part of me that I couldn’t even put to words, that fear of happiness leading to complacency…

    I’ve wound vague ideas of growth, betterment and accomplishment into my idea of happiness, but sometimes it almost feels like I’m punishing myself. Like if I don’t eat my broccoli, I don’t get dessert. It’s a recipe for unhappiness, for sure (dessert, recipes… can you tell I’m hungry?). Why should happiness have to be earned? Part of me wonders if it’s a remnant from my time with depression––one of those sneaky self-hate spirals that have you flat on your butt before you even realize they’re there.

    “So allowing myself more happiness with loving my life could create space for more gathering, more learning, more awareness.”

    I love this and this is what I hope for (and will work for) for myself.

    Fantastic post and great start to Writing 101.


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