Whatever makes you happy, you put in your world

Happiness feels like a flimsy thing, a flimsy concept. I wrote this line sometime back and I found myself returning to it today.

It was a bright sunny day yesterday, as bright as winter days get. We have snow falling from sky today; I cannot tell sky from lake, mountains from sky.

There are many things that brought me joy in recent days: Connecting with people and receiving helpful response to my unfolding interest in (Buddhist) chaplaincy here in North America and how it’s developing in East Asia. Discovering a board game shop in a small town that comes with a board game cafe” and a pleasant shopkeeper who offers really spot on recommendations. A pleasant encounter for my first ever visit to a clinic here where I saw a doctor who empathised with me and patiently walked me through the medical/public health system. Experiencing the bouncing back of kitty’s health after bringing him to a vet —nothing breaks my heart more than encountering his suffering in a diminished activity, diminished vitality sorta way. Catching up with two old friends who were quite pivotal in helping us get settled where we are today. Connecting with a really helpful librarian who endorsed my book choice.

Really, just reflecting on all of these encounters made me see how much my own satisfaction and fulfilment sits squarely on how connected I feel to others. It shapes my perception of the world, whether consciously or otherwise: am I trying to survive the hostility of a system alone, or am I being held by some form of kinship which is already inherent in all of life. Some may argue that this dependency on a satisfaction and a sense of connection outside of oneself can be not the best way to go — it is afterall, a dependency which is at best flimsy. The flip side of that, though, isn’t so I should be happy alone. I can be happy alone, and I recognize I am happy when I feel connected. I think recognizing this distinction is important. And I think whatever makes you happy, you put in your world.

Some relationships in my life bring me stress and I’m glad there are other relationships in my life, right now, that keep me buoyant and flourishing. Today, I write from a good place and I know that this place is as ephemeral as with all things. At this moment, I feel deeply grateful and I just want to put it out there.

December 14, 2023