It’s been quiet here these past few months. No sudden event to pin a happiness insight upon. Just a dog and I, in a big empty house in the middle of nowhere. There are strolls in the forest and along the beach too. Occasional chats, but very few. Often a small fire warms us in the evening.
A wordly cycle warming up the winter
Getting through the winter – my first in 3 years. I remember winter being more difficult than this one has been. But since then, some important lessons about happiness have been learnt.
It is hard to believe that this time last year a long 18-month cycling journey to Bhutan was fast coming to its end. I got filled up with a kind of happiness that endures. Now I’m filling up blank pages with words about that enduring happiness. It’s a whole other journey. A quiet one. Yet bold, in another way. Yet the happiness is still here and simmers on. What I learnt on that journey is relevant now, for this journey. That’s the whole point. ..
Parallels from then to now
I recently finished Chapter 13. It’s called “the end in sight”. I wrote about being close to Bhutan, but the same ideas about happiness in that chapter apply to writing this book (a first draft is nearly ready for the offering), or looking after this dog (this one is nearly over). The parallels are uncanny. Similar feelings arise within me now as they did then. The gritty hard work has been done – I pushed on through with steadfast purpose.
I have a meeting with a publisher next week. My fingers are crossed. Exciting if that comes off. Yet if it doesn’t come off then I’ll just have to go hawking my words out more widely. Something will come. Though if these words never see public release then it won’t dent my happiness.
I dropped my expectations about an outcome around Chapter 4. In that Chapter, titled “Letting go of Bhutan”, I was writing about my time in the Andes when I was dropping my expectations of happiness from ever arriving in Bhutan. That’s necessary for any journey. I had to write this book, in the same way I had to cycle to Bhutan. The outcome never mattered; meaningful in and of itself.
Happiness is a meaningful journey
We choose our journey – be it a small day trip, hunkering down for the winter to work on a project, partnering up, committing to some people or land, or going to the ends of the earth – but at root it must be deeply meaningful to us.
And if we then drop our expectations about how it may turn out, focus on the present, welcome the support of others, confront our fears, stay focused on our purpose, and are strong enough to stand head-strong against a culture that won’t always make it easy, we will have our chance for happiness. A quiet happiness that can simmer on for a fair while – eternity – not the short sharp, over in an instant happy-clappy stuff…there is too much of that!