Happiness! What a topic... hmm, I have so much to say... where to start?
I think people generally view me as a very happy person. I know this because they tell me so all the time. One of my favorite teachers was just commenting today that she really likes how I am always smiling during practice. This isn't necessarily like a big cheesy grin (which would be creepy), but she says I always at least have a really pleasant expression on my face.
Now, the yoga smile is completely genuine, because I am ALWAYS really happy to be at yoga! But I also know that I am really good at faking it. When I was waitressing, I usually had at LEAST one customer a day who commented, "wow, you are the happiest waitress we've ever seen, that's great!"... but half the time, I was totally miserable or pissed off and just REALLY good at covering it up. It is a skill that I developed deliberately, actually.
My point here is that I usually seem very happy, and in certain situations it IS genuine, but there's usually been SOME level of worry or unhappiness hiding underneath. It's easy to be happy while something good is happening (like a yoga class!), but the real test is when you're by yourself, making dinner, riding the subway, watching TV... what's on your mind then?
For as long as I can remember, I've always been waiting for SOMETHING to come along to make my life complete. Oh, life is good now, but it's REALLY going to be great once I get into college. Then college is okay, but I REALLY need to figure out what I'm going to do with my ballet career and what I'm going to do with my life. Then ballet is okay, but the money is non-existant and the hours really sucks, so what am I going to do NEXT? Then waitressing is ok, but I NEED to get into grad school. Then grad school is great, but I still NEED to become a Bikram yoga instructor! Always waiting for that NEXT thing that will REALLY make life great...
A couple weeks ago, I started to suspect that something was changing. I was out camping with my roommate in the desert, and I saw a shooting star. She told me to wish for something, and I wished for... nothing. There was nothing at that moment that I wanted to change, nothing to fix.
Now that little inkling has developed into a true certainty: I am happy NOW, here. Of course there are still a million things that I plan to do in my future, but I don't NEED to do any of them now. Right now, there is nowhere to go, nothing to fix. I can be genuinely happy, all the time, for no reason. This is brilliant. This is a total game-changer. I'm driving around the California coast with my music on and my windows down, and I couldn't be happier. I'm at a party and I'm totally thrilled to be meeting all these interesting people. I'm at yoga with my heart pounding and my face on fire and I'm just delighted to be there. I'm in lecture at 10am on Monday morning trying not to fall asleep, and it's boring as heck, but I am still HAPPY because I am in the right place at the right time. That's something my favorite yoga teacher wrote to me in an email last week when i told her I couldn't go to teacher training this year: "you know you are always going to be in the right place at the right time." And wow - what a great surprise - I actually DO know that!
That's all for now... :-)