Everyone seems to be chasing happiness. Right now, the 137 bus gliding across Chelsea Bridge implores you to #choosephappiness, the global hashtag chosen by the Coca Cola Corporation.
That couldn’t be more appropriate for Coke. Because happiness is indeed a sweet, sugary rush.
We all like that instant happy energy. Posting on Facebook from a sunlounger on a Pacific island. The summer evening shiver of a chilled Rosé. Your favourite team scoring. A frisson of romance across the room in a coffee bar. Maybe even watching a video of Pharell Williams doing his world-conquering Happy dance.
All these rushes are great.
But happiness is elusive, happiness is transient. Happiness leaves you just when you need it most. Happiness is a great looking but oh-so-fickle lover.
So it’s time to stop chasing happiness.
Because there is something so much more desirable, so much more profound.
It’s called Joy. And it’s something you can’t post on Facebook, shoot for Instagram, or pin on Pinterest.
The Relationship Bridge was created to take you from chasing Happiness to living in Joy.
It’s a journey I made myself, so I know the route. I had a comfortable upbringing in Canada. Like any upbringing, it had moments of happiness, moments of pain and trauma, and all the emotions in between.
As an adult, I travelled a great deal, sensing there was something elusive out there, a better way to be.
Ironically enough, it was an existential threat to the whole way I live, to who I am, that helped me find the path across the bridge to joy.
In the coming months, I’ll write about that the challenges I faced. But what’s most important is not what those challenges were, but how I faced them.
I realised that BEFORE I CREATED THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WORLD, FIRST I HAD TO GET THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH MYSELF.
The trip to Joy starts by releasing a flow of positive thoughts and actions to others, to everything, and to yourself.
The journey continues by setting yourself free: free of judgement, free of control/controlling, and free of expectation of recompense.
You cease judging others, and let others’ judgement go. Suddenly you feel wonderfully sane. It’s no wonder the word ‘Judge’ goes with ‘Mental’.
Then it’s time to say goodbye to control. Adios, agonising over TV News. Sayonara, trying to get your partner to dance to your tune. Arrivederci, waking up at 3am because your work rival is besting you. Fare thee well, my noisy little ego.
When you really let go of control, truly, joy starts to ooze all over you. You can’t stop it.
Reciprocity is lovely, but it happens when you counter-intuitively let go the expectation of recompense.
The core to all this is: Joy happens when you allow the world to happen around you. You are truly free of ego. You become your true, original, authentic self.
You open yourself to great energy. Some call it the Great Mystery Energy. Some call it the Law Of Attraction. Some call it Mojo. I call it Joy.
Joy requires only your self respect to stay alive. It is the evergiving force of life. And it’s more reliable than a Rolex.
Happiness on the other hand demands you to be on a roller-coaster ride on a daily (if not minute-by-minute) basis.
Joy is like your skin which you need you need to nurture and nourish, years of daily care reaping dividends forever.
Happiness is like the next wardrobe change of a fear-laden fashionista. Will it work? Will I be judged? Will it be off-trend?
Happiness is the new Black. Joy is a whole new kind of colour.
Joy is like having a best friend and a soul mate and an amazing lover….who never ever abandons you.
Happiness is the amazing lover who may hop out of your bed for a better offer at any given moment.
The thing is, happiness is dependent upon so many variables lining up precisely the way you want them to. And the world just isn’t like that.
It’s expecting people to show up the way you “need” them. It’s dependent on your spouse or lover never changing. Or even worse, your happiness depends on waiting for things to change.
Joy is different. Once you have the tools required for Joy, it won’t matter if you fall off the happiness bandwagon. Your transition back on track is natural, obvious, true. Once you have the tools, they never go away.
So here’s to crossing The Relationship Bridge Together.
As the great American band 3 Dog Night once sang:
“Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me”