Friday, July 29, 2011

Inspiration: the Pursuit of Happiness

G’Day ETDers!

It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks for Team WinGaz and today we’re taking a well-earned rest to recover our aching bodies from long-distance hiking in the Scottish Highlands, Snowboarding lessons, and the various other activities we’ve been blogging about (this was written while we were in Glasgow). I have decided to take the ETD baton and let Winnie (who is currently sleeping) recuperate in peace.

So today, whilst we are at peace and relaxing, I hope that you can all find some time to take a few minutes to sit back and find peace in your own way. On that note, I would like to share some of my thoughts on another Lululemon derived inspirational quote:

“The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness”

So, why do I want to talk about happiness and the pursuit of it? It’s simple really. I want to highlight to all of you special people reading this blog that happiness is not something we can search for, or even find. Happiness is something that creeps up on us – it finds Us. I’ll come back to that in just a moment.

Happiness is something that every single person is not only entitled to, but it is their birth right to be happy. Happiness is a lot like love in so many ways, we can look for love – we see our friends and families search for love, but the funny thing is that its just like happiness, love finds them, not the other way around. Here’s a question. Have you ever seen someone who is looking for the love of their life in a nightclub or a bar? Do they look happy? Speaking honestly, I was one of those people, and I was never happy…I got drunk for sure and that eased the pain (for a while) but I wasn’t happy…and I never found what I was looking for.

Let’s go a little deeper into this. Some of us look for love because we believe that being in love will make us happy. Some throw themselves into work, to get rich so the money can make us happy. Others volunteer and make a contribution to the lives of those less fortunate that us, whilst some try every sport, hobby and experience to get happy. Joining clubs to make friends so that we feel part of something might offer the same incentive or plunging ourselves into fiction novels to take us away to be a part of some fantastic far away story can take us away from our lives for a short while too.

The way I see it and I can only go on my own opinion, looking and trying can do no harm, but freeing our mindset is often a more important part of the process. I’ll explain. WE are all obsessed with finding, making and doing stuff to be happy – whether we admit it out loud or not. Happiness like many things in the universe comes and finds us when we’re “ready” to receive them. If we are blocking up our minds with this obsession to find something, it can never be truly found. It is like a complex mathematical problem that we get so tied up in finding the solution that we lose sight of what we are ultimately doing. This is both annoyingly stressful and it clouds our vision so we cannot find the solution. Some of you may have been working on something, and you’ve been so focussed on the outcome that you get too close to the “project” and make a mess of it, well that’s exactly the same.

Imagine that the universe (or whatever your beliefs define as a higher divine power) holds all of the secrets we seek. Imagine that the universe is transmitting these secrets to us all 24/7 365. What if the universe is screaming out the answers to all of our questions but WE aren’t listening. What if we are so obsessed with finding the answer to our own happiness, that we have stopped listening?

Happiness, like love, finds us when we are “ready”. How we each become ready to listen to our own answers is a personal journey. Firstly, we need to stop obsessing over the search and start listening. “The answers are already in your head” – we hear this a lot as we go through the educational system as children and as adults, but why is it that when we leave school and academic education we stop using the lessons we were taught? How do we find the answer and how do we listen? Apart from the obvious method, and avoiding obsessing over listening (that will get us nowhere), we need to, and to quote my favourite PADI scuba diving material:

“Stop. Think. Act”.

So let’s STOP searching, STOP trying and STOP being so hard on ourselves. Next, let’s THINK about positive things and positive outcomes, but most importantly let’s THINK about having some FUN! Let’s live a little and get out of that box we’ve put ourselves in…

So the ACT or ACTION step. This is not travelling the world to find the perfect beach, it is not surfing just to find the perfect wave, and it is not taking photographs to snap the perfect photograph. This is obsession. The ACTION we are targeting is a whole lot different and I guarantee you it will knock your socks off and kick you in the butt. Travel because you enjoy waking up in a new location or learning about different cultures, go and surf because you love surfing, and take photos because you enjoy looking at the pictures you have created.

Did you realise that having fun no matter how many times you fall off the board, how many bad hostels you stay in, or how many pictures didn’t turn out how you first thought - This is the key to happiness. When we are having fun, we are relaxed and we drop our guards – the walls come a tumblin’ down. When we are like this, the universe notices, it sees a change for the better and starts sending us transmissions to suit this change, and helps us get back on the right track. Happiness sees us taking heaps of photos and having fun snapping away, so it sends us sunshine to help out with the lighting, or we start feeling creative and notice that our “bad” photos aren’t so bad, they are actually pretty good, some are even an abstract view of something – how did I get this good? We feel good about what we are doing and we smile for the first time in ages. We hold our heads high in the air and puff up our chests and say:

“I can do this, and this is Fun!”

What is happening to us? Happiness is coming closer and is tickling us with its tentacles of joy! The more we smile, the more confident we feel, and the happier we get and guess what? Before we know it we are actually “balls to bones” happy. We didn’t actually ”DO” anything. Happiness and the universe did all the work. Pretty cool, huh?

All it takes is a special recipe of:
  1. Faith in ourselves
  2. Taking Action just because we can
  3. Having Fun, no matter what the outcome

So take control of your life. Have fun with it, it is your life after all. It belongs entirely to you and nobody else, not a soul can tell you otherwise. You have the power, it really is in you. It’s on you. It always has been and always will be.

Get out there. Live life. Have fun and take a breath once in a while to stop, think then act again.
I want to finish with a recent, personal short and very true story.
I wanted this UK trip to be perfect for Winnie as it is her first time here. I planned the route and all the locations, proposed various activities and so on. We picked the accommodation we would stay in and we organised all the transport. As the time neared for our departure, I started to doubt myself. I started to wonder about the locations and the proposed activities, if Winnie would enjoy them or if she would dislike the experience. I started to have second thoughts about the trip (and those of you close to me will know) – I started to feel so sad about leaving Australia. I got too close to this project and couldn’t see the trip for what it was, and got too stressed out. Now as most you know, Winnie, the love of my life - that literally crept up on both of us and knocked our socks off! Well, she’s always positive and was so excited about this trip. She took me to one side and told me, no matter what we would have fun. So, I decided in that moment to stop trying to find the source and enjoy each moment, making each one a memory for us, Team WinGaz…. Through sightseeing in every city, meeting family members, hiking in torrential rain in the Peak District, hanging with FAG, Mr Mouldie and Kimbo, meeting the Queen, and driving through the highlands of Scotland we’ve had fun. We’ve tried various Whisky and eaten various “local” cuisines. We even gave our feet a pounding on a few long 15-20km Hikes on Skye and in the Peaks, We also gave our knees and butts a kicking at Snowboarding lessons….through it all we have had the best time. So much fun, and so many memories. But it is doing the stuff, and enjoying each bit for what it is and nothing more, that we’ve (more to the point I’ve) learnt that having fun, relaxing and taking control of my thoughts (even during relaxation) that I am truly happy =)
So have faith, do what you want to do because you can, and have fun doing it…no matter what. I guarantee happiness (and maybe even love) will find you…
Tell me your thoughts?

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