Am I “Happy”~A Checklist

 

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I am a happy person by nature, but just like everybody else, I can slip into doubt on a moments notice. Insecurities coupled with a general sense “this can’t be right” will have me questioning whether I am actually happy or have I just gotten really good at pretending. After a quick completion of my general checklist, I always come to the same conclusion. I am traversing this world as a generally happy person and my insecurities or doubt stem from the brooding artist in me. This is my nature.

But what is this checklist I use? I have a series of beliefs that I check in on to remind myself what happiness is actually made of. A quick tune in/up reminds me of my perspective goals and brings the needle back due north. Here are four of my favorites:

 

“I Love You Man”

This scene is most often depicted in film by a guy who has imbibed too much and draped over his friend professing his deep-rooted love. I see this more as a general love for other people. I like to make sure I truly care about other people’s happiness and let them know, within reason. I really love celebrating other people’s successes and I want to be the person that they go to first if they need a shoulder. Even if I have never met them before, because a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.

 

Right Here, Right Now

I am a parent, and one of the first things people love to tell you is “it goes so fast”. My observation about that truth is life seems to pass you by quicker the more you live in memory. I try to be eyes wide open all the time and really pay attention to every nuance that constructs every little moment in the present. My favorite movie quote of all time is from Joe Versus the Volcano ~ “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement”. I try to stay awake because I have never met an unhappy person in a state of amazement!

 

Eyes on the Prize

“Mo money, mo problems.” I have the general understanding that money is not the source of happiness. I have had some and I have had none, so my litmus test kit is in order. Most people have money as their goal. Don’t get me wrong; I am not going to go all “possession free yogi” on you because money is important. Everybody needs to generate enough to live a quality life on, but for me, a speed boat and plane are not desirable objects. Instead I truly load my basket with the eggs of my children’s health, quantity time with my wife and dinners at long tables full of family or friends. Not only does this fill my happiness reservoir every time but these goals are more achievable on a regular basis.

Sound Sleeper

When is the last time you took a sleep inventory? Look back at last night and assess how you have slept. I take an inventory every morning. It’s not necessarily the amount of time you slept, although that plays a part, but rather the quality of sleep you got. Did I have good dreams? What were my dreams about (I try and remember as much detail as possible)? How does my body feel this morning? If something is off track then I try and figure out how to improve on it. I analyze my own dreams to find the source and see if something can be corrected physically to change or repeated to secure the good ones. This takes some practice but is my path to sound sleeping and excitement getting there.

 

These are just 4 ways that I track my happiness to make sure that I am on point, but more importantly to remind myself to ignore the doubts in life that have me questioning my happiness and simply trust the process. How do you measure your happiness?

 

[BLANK] As ART #4, Relationships

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Welcome back to our monthly series of BLANK as Art! As a recap, this is where we uncover, rediscover and often redefine what “art” is.

In our recent adventures, we have unearthed a few topics that one does not generally look at as art and exposed the parallels to art so as to see it in a different light. Today we look at relationships.

We can all agree that dancing is a form of art. One of the freest and expressionist forms of art created by the individual and presented to the public for their interpretations or executed as a team and presented for the same reasons. If we take into consideration that relationships are not unlike a dance then we recognize the connection. If “Dancing” is “Art” and “Relationships” are a “Dance” then “Relationships” are “Art”. See how that works?

Let’s then explore the nuances of the art form of relationships.

First of all the longer we work at a relationship, is the longer that we are invested with our hearts and emotion. The purest foundation of art is emotion. We see, or experience a singular act performed within the confines of the relationship and we are moved emotionally. This is not unlike my previous stated experience of being moved to emotion by a Mark Rothko painting. Not only are we moved emotionally, but also we use this emotion to guide us through next steps.

The emotional reaction to a relationship can harvest negative reactions as well. When a relationship takes a turn, be it slight or course changing, we are apt to react with anger, disbelief, sadness or even rage. Think of a piece of traditional art that has had the same effect on you. Perhaps a painting depicting injustice or abuse, a song that pushes the lyrics past your own personal point of comfort or any attack senses that your body goes into natural defense mode. How is this different than the issues that arise to test the strength of a relationship? The answer is, it is not.

Finally, Relationships are complex. The more that we work at it, the more hours that we put into building and learning, is the more impossible it is to duplicate the results. Layers of complexity are stacked on top the other with every team decision you make. Each layer can prove to strengthen the piece or be the deciding factor in the demise of what once was a masterpiece.

 

Not everybody can do traditional forms of art and are just as happy witnessing the work of others and the same goes for relationships. However, anybody can learn to do either with time, patience and flexibility of their previous conceptions and definition of art and relationships respectively.