Happiness is Now

by Karen Mann

image of dragon float at Disneyworld

My brother and I just returned from a trip to Disney World Orlando last week, and I had a realization. (Shocking, I know!)

You’ve heard that Disneyland is the “Happiest Place on Earth,” right? While I was there, I can safely say I was pretty happy! 

This had me thinking. Do I really need to be somewhere specific to be happy? Why does it seem like happiness is so conditional? How do we hold onto it? Is it the park that makes us happy, or the expectation of it that brings us this happiness?

The natural human predicament is wanting to be happy, and our lives revolve around doing what we think will get us there.

Finding the right spouse, the right job, the right home.  

Being the perfect weight. 

When I have all that, I’ll be happy once and for all, right? Or maybe I need to move to Disney World. I hear the Sleeping Beauty Castle is pretty nice, apart from the occasional curse.

The truth is, happiness is your nature.

It’s who you are. When we find the things that we think make us happy, what is actually happening is that we are peeling away the barriers that are hiding this truth from us. With everything we achieve, happiness is unlocked. We feel connected to this true nature, and peace settles in.  

And then it’s gone. Or is it? Here’s your assignment:

The next time you get into that feel-good space, stop and ask yourself: What’s here now that wasn’t here a minute ago? Can I find this space, whenever and wherever I choose, without needing anything “out there” to bring me “here”?

Remind yourself that this is your true nature. It’s underneath all the stories you tell yourself, the expectations you think you’re not meeting, the narratives of your past that keep you feeling small. 

It’s always there. You don’t need anything. It’s just who you are. 

I know life can get pretty dark, and I’m not trying to bypass the truth of your struggles. I’m just reminding you that the light is always in there. 

Life can try to bring you down with its fire-breathing dragons, but like trips to Disney World, they come and go. What never leaves you?  

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