Finding Balance: The Elusive Art of Cultivating Happiness
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Yin, Yang, Right, Wrong, Good, Bad, Holiness, Evil, Happy, Sad, Love, and Hate are concepts that buy for our attention as we strive to make sense of the emotional journey we call life. The number one request I hear from people with whom I have worked for the past 15 years, is that they seek happiness. However, if seeking happiness is a true calling, why is this simple act so elusive to most who undertake its journey?
As a psychotherapist, I deal primarily with emotions. While many label emotions as maladaptive, and yes this construct is socially supported by the myriad of pharmaceutical commercials that promise us a happy, care free life each and every day where beaches and puppies are traded for a list of life altering, if not “sometimes fatal” side effect in which you should “notify your doctor immediately,” we have yet to find a simple solution that will help us deal with our less than desirable emotions while teaching us skills to cultivate happiness and balance from within. With all the complexities and miracles science and medicine has given us, we still remain in the dark about our own emotional landscape, a rich and diverse meadow that many have wandered through, but few have seen the flowers within (paraphrased from Ralph Waldo Emerson).
As a New Year begins, I am committed to understanding this emotion, as it pertains to not only my personal plight, and yes, a New Years Resolution to find Balance, but also to help others begin to understand ways to open their lives towards the elusive art of cultivating happiness from within. As John Lennon states above, we cannot begin to formulate this journey as an assignment. Instead, it is a journey of Self discovery, a discovery of that Self we yearn to attain, yet seems somehow elusive to our understanding.
So, I ask, what is your resolve to begin cultivating areas of happiness within your life. As the New Year begins, you too can shed the skin of the old, and adapt new ways to find balance, and attain your inner peace. As new journeys begin, I look forward to sharing with you the insights attained from my journey to find balance between work, life, wealth, health, and the journey to cultivate happiness and balance within.
Dr. Thomas Maples