I’m in my 7th week now of my Happiness Project. It has been life changing for me. It’s so difficult to express in words. I wish I could pour each of you a glass, straight from my soul and let you taste the sweetness.
Imagine you are hiking through an amazing rainforest on a remote island. Can you picture it? The million different hues of green have paved your path. Lush foliage and tropical flowers brush up against your skin that’s dripping with sweet humidity. There are also old trees that are worn down and broken that have fallen on the path. They aren’t as beautiful as the plants flourishing around you. But they are worthy of attention. It’s a difficult hike, and you have to really focus on your footing because there are so many unknown barriers that may trip you on your way. It’s important to keep your eyes on the path ahead of you, but you have to take the time to look around you. And man, you have to stop and just breathe it all in. You have to look up or you’ll miss the beauty. The sky is a shade of blue that you’ve never witnessed in your life. In order to see it through the Island’s thickness, you must look closely. The colors that surround you, the flowers, the vegetation, the trees, and the melodious sounds sprung from nature demand silence in order to be heard.
Those moments that you have taken to stop and see what’s around you are going to be the most memorable parts of this hike. The enjoyment and fulfillment will not come from simply keeping your head down and plugging along on the path. There is no rush to get to the end. And if you aren’t paying attention to what is surrounding you and if you don’t take the time to get quiet, you would miss this sound…
Drip, drip, drip
It’s not far away. But the sound is so faint. Hushed. So you follow your senses, and the misty air leads you around the corner to the most incredible aqua-tinted waterfall. It appears to be cascading over a sheet of glass, it’s so pure. As it descends from its 20-foot river bend, it calls your attention. Its pureness flows so gracefully as it makes its entrance into a pool of water that mirrors the sky. You’ve never seen color like that. Every shade of blue and green swirl together to create a color that can only be imagined in Heaven. And you are witnessing it. YOU! Lucky, lucky you!
Your skin is desperate to bathe in its infinite goodness. The pool is calling your name. Begging and promising. Wanting you to occupy the depths of its tranquility. You’re tired and sweaty from all your hard climbing. You’re afraid though. Maybe it’s too high of a jump for you. Maybe you fear the unknown. Maybe you’ll be wasting your time. Maybe it won’t feel as good as you think it will. Maybe you’ll miss something else that is on the path if you stop to enjoy a swim.
What do you do?
Or turn around, put your head back down to the ground and hurry to the end?
So, 7 weeks ago, I jumped in. Like front-flipped, fully clothed, jumped in.
The turquoise pool of happiness is very refreshing. I’m letting it soak my heart and soul. I’m marinating in all it has to offer. I’ve been basking in the beauty that every day brings. And it’s all because I’m taking the time to stop, listen and enjoy.
I’m changing the way I do things. My priorities are different. My brain is changing. My habits are changing. I have so much to work on still and I still have bad days, I still get angry, but it’s different. My stress has diminished. I catch it quicker and try to change my thoughts. My joy is more full. And nothing has changed but me and my focus. My life didn’t just happen to get easier 7 weeks ago. My vision just got clearer. I am more aware of those around me, and I am constantly re-training my brain to think positively. It’s mentally exhausting some days, but so worth the effort. I am abandoning my fears, like this right here. You are witnessing an abandoned fear right now. Writing. Sharing. Hitting “Publish Post” to my most inner thoughts and feelings has been a major fear for me. My hand literally shakes when the mouse hovers over that icon. Because whoa…what if someone doesn’t like my writing? What if someone thinks I’m dumb? What if I fail? My perfectionistic self can’t handle failure very well.
What if, what if, what if.
“What if’s”….are fear.
I don’t ask “what if” as much anymore.
Except for now…”What if” you don’t take the time to listen, to observe, to follow your senses? What if you hike along the path of life and completely miss the highlight of the whole experience. Sure, you would have been fine to just keep marching past it, but think how much greater your life can be when you get to take a break and refresh. When you can actually enjoy the path you are on. How many waterfalls have I missed in my life because I was too eager to get to the end. Or I was too rushed or distracted with the obstacles on my path. It’s all about what we take the time to see. Each day. I’m making an effort to see my kids. Like really see them. Laugh with them. I’m doing better at leaving the things that are less important so I can spend valuable time with my family. I cherish my life with them. And my heart is expanding to those around me. My love for others is growing. I’m not afraid to love anymore. It feels amazing! It’s the most exhilarating swim ever! I have to keep working on it and I know I can do better, but I am thankful for the expanded vision, which is a gift from God.
Do yourself a favor. Stop. Enjoy your surroundings. Believe. Forgive. Love. Forget your fears. Enjoy everyone around you. Live like it’s your last day on earth. Love until your heart is about to shatter. Plunge. Swim. Look up. God is the Maker of all the beauty. Give thanks. And I promise happiness will overflow from your soul. Drink it and share it.