Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it.
I have just finished re-reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. God, I love that book. And I know the film is going to be gorgeous. I get excited shivers just watching the trailer.
It’s a beautiful sunny day today, and I want to turn my deceased window boxes into a herby heaven rather that sit at my desk for too long by explaining just what turns me on about this book. Before I go and get all soily, I just wanted to share with you this passage, which I adore. It’s about happiness. Since life is a complex inter-woven state, I feel I cannot separate happiness, contentment, (indeed emotions in general), success and fulfillment from the food we eat, and the way we treat our bodies and minds. Our bodies, minds, lives can either be as lifeless and somber as a deceased window box, or they can be as lush, fragrant, life-giving and tasty as a healthy herby heaven. I aim for the latter. It’s far more fun!
Enough about me, this is what Gilbert writes:
“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel round the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you leak away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”
Of course, praying does not have to mean praying to a specific God in the traditional sense, if that does not suit your beliefs. And happiness is not a selfish thing to pursue. As Gilbert continues:
“ The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”
So, please, on this beautiful day, allow yourself some happiness. Eat well, and enjoy other people!
Thinking of you
Extract taken from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert © 2006
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