• Lacy Starling

#64: Happiness is Available

My favorite teacher of Buddhist thought is Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I read a book of his every night before I fall asleep (You are Here) and I have several others by him on my bookshelf. (And no, I'm not a practicing Buddhist. I think the philosophy is beautiful, though, and it helps me a great deal in working through my anxiety and fear.)


This morning, while doing my meditation, the teacher mentioned a quote by Nhat Hanh that I thought was just beautiful, and so appropriate in this time of trouble, strife and *gestures broadly at everything.*


"Happiness is available. Please help yourself to it." - Nhat Hanh

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. Even in this time, when everything feels so fraught and difficult, happiness is still available. And we just have to help ourselves to it. Instead of doomscrolling and wallowing in the anxiety that checking the news or talking to our parents can create, you just have to help yourself to something that makes you happy. Go for a walk with your dog. Let the sun shine on your face. Listen to a favorite song. Read a poem, or a story, or even a quote that makes you smile. Play with your kids. Play with other people's kids (with their permission, of course.) Drink a glass of wine (just the one) and eat a fabulous dinner.


Folks, happiness is a CHOICE. If you choose to focus on the bad, you will not be happy. But if you choose to focus on the good, you can be happy. And I'm not saying blithely ignore what is happening in the world. I'm saying don't martyr yourself to it. You are no less committed to the causes you believe in if you watch a funny TV show or sing along to a pop song in the car with your child. You are simply providing yourself with relief from the stuff happening out there.


Because if we can't be happy, what is even the point of all this?

© 2020 Lacy Starling