I am sitting here on a Sunday night and reflecting on the week. Have I learnt anything new….like experienced something that I had never encountered before this week?
And whatever it was, big or small, had it evoked joy in me? I am asking, if the action of creating a new experience is enough in itself to induce happiness, or whether happiness only comes from outside?
Have I been happiest when I enjoyed something outside of me, like watching a new film, or buying a new pair of shoes, or was the pleasure greater when I actually created, or achieved something?
1. New adventure compared with a pre-organised outside event
I know for sure, learning how to deflate a helium balloon yesterday, felt like an achievement. A funny achievement, insignificant and yet enough to put a smile on my face…using that straw to suck out that air was surely a novel way to put those balloons away!
If I had not googled the query, I would never have learnt how…and when I did it, it felt greater than simply popping the balloons.
And if I compare this with another experience yesterday of watching my daughters get dressed for Halloween, yes it was sweet, yes their efforts had them embody a new personality, but as for my internal pleasure, this external experience did not measure up to my helium balloon achievement.
2. Technology advances compared with watching a movie
And then there was the hours spent, figuring out wth the GEEK squad, and then with my brother (via a phone-call to the UK), how to reconfigure my home network, so that my printers would print remotely again and wifi would work throughout the house. This was particularly rewarding, since I felt truly empowered and much less helpless as compared to when I started.
This job had waited 3 months for the fear of its complexity and yet it was relatively simple to navigate on reflection! A job that put a fat smile on my face…..when bam….all was working efficiently again! I now know how to do this again, if a similar incident arises.
This happened earlier today, and afterwards I went to watch the “Steve Jobs” movie….my supposed external happiness. Engaging in something outside of me…I came back as if some energy had been sucked out of me.
The shadow side of his personality left me wondering how his daughter had felt, and experienced life. I felt empathy for Lisa. I then went on to google researching, to see if Steve Jobs had evolved as a person and saw that he had asked that a self realization book be shared with his friends and family at his funeral- showing his fascination in self transformation.
I felt sad that the full picture of Steve Jobs personality had not been depicted in the movie.
In short this external experience left me robbed of energy, and certainly did not bring the same euphoria as fixing my internet service had earlier in the day!
3. Empowered by a blog or by a shopping spree!
At the beginning of this week, I was shown how to use a wordpress blog by a friend of mine. I had not even asked for the help, he just turned up with it! Suddenly I could feel internal euphoria to having a slightly more professional presence on the web….out of the blue, I could modify new entries myself, and felt excited that I could chat with my audience, all the whilst I slowly put together my official website. A big hooray and major relief.
Now earlier this week, I had bought a pair of new UGGS. A new pair of boots, that were both comfortable and trendy looking. I have to admit this purchase felt joyful, and with every wear of them this week, a sweet smile follows too. Yes, something outside of me that has brought me joy…and yes it appears to be lasting joy too!
The internal experience of the wordpress blog however still brought more euphoria, if I were to measure both on a set of scales which is very interesting. Interesting because my go to outside happiness would normally be shopping…and here when I am attempting to measure I can see that even this experience falls short of internally induced happiness.
And what is even more exciting is that internally induced happiness is yours, and can never be taken away…whilst shopping we might be able to afford or not. Looks like creativity and feeling empowered is winning so far!
4. My mac and its operating system compared with connection with loved ones
I learnt how to upgrade the operating system on my mac…this one was very very exciting, because I managed to get a keynote presentation to work, even though it involved me staying up till 430am to make it all happen! Crazy- once started the job became addictive….but it was well worth it!
I guess I was like a woman on a mission, but this major achievement then led me to have the confidence to get the network in my home corrected too (see above). This is true empowerment, when dependence on others outside of you falls away, and amazingly you discover how logical and capable you can be, if you follow instructions calmly and carefully.
Now how does this compare to another external experience of happiness. My only comparison would be my conversations of connection with my two girls this week. Yes…I have had fabulous chats, and they have induced so much pleasure and “feel good factor”! In fact if measured on a scale, the external feeling of love, measures as highly and equal to the measure of happiness induced by internal creativity and empowerment.
I love it. I can see now. Love, connection outside is as profound and juicy as the internal connection with oneself when we feel appreciation for our own moments of creativity!
5. New event admin or the unfolding of the external process itself
And finally I learnt how to use Eventbrite, and reached out to people I do not know, to come to a talk and presentation…I felt some fear around success, what if no-one shows up, but that was soon counteracted with delight on an external level as I saw people I do not know click to register for the next event.
I also learnt another amazing thing. I felt totally cool with non attachment and could see big steps into eroding my ambition of how this event should unfold. I have learnt that my contentment is in the process and not in the end result. Another moment of internal happiness.
Now the real test will be, on the day of the event. Is the process of arranging, preparing and showing up going to be more fulfilling and joyful for me, or will the “event” of having touched new lives outside of me, be the cherry on the top that leads to even greater expansion for me?
God bless you all, as each of you contemplate on where your own happiness is flowing from. I hope you are taking stock of the experiences you can control, i.e. those that are self generated with your own creativity and achievements….and quietly begin to compare those experiences to our traditional way of seeking happiness, and that is outside of us! I look forward to hearing your views below.