Inner Solitude and Happiness

I love when I'm in the car to catch On Being on the radio because I always feel inspired to have a discussion about the inner self. This week Pico Iyer discussed the Art of Stillness, his book and the practice in general - finding peace in slowing down. He also lived in the busy city of New York and now found himself in a quieter, less connected environment in the countryside of Japan. He also frequents a Benedictine monastery often. I completely identified with this and recently I've stopped struggling as much about going from busy bee to a more simple life. Yes, I still utter the words, I'm bored. But then I remember that I actually have plenty to do to fill my time. I just don't feel like doing it and crave something more exciting. I am still connected with my phone, computers, etc. but I am happy with that because I need to social stimulation these outlets lead to. I do miss and love the other people on the other side of the connection so staying in touch is a blessing, not a curse. And I no longer feel over-wired. I feel like I can retreat into solitude anytime it is necessary, even with children and their loudness broadcasting throughout the house.

What I am learning is that some of the most important traits to happiness include living compassionately, living authentically and living creatively. There is a happiness or fulfillment by filling my life with loving people -- authentic, compassionate, creative people. My own true happiness comes from within, even though I am inspired by those around me. Within this skin I must find acceptance of self, showing compassion towards myself, so I can move forward into a joyful existence. I do this, but it takes practice - daily practice. I admit to being hard on myself and I admit that it is hard to feel joy while berating oneself. Now that I've slowed down the pace of my life significantly, I promise myself to not keep looking at the past or someone else's present and compare journeys. My journey 20 years ago is not the same as today. My friend's journey is not the same as mine. With this tenet, I know I can enjoy my simplicity and solitude and find happiness right here, right now. 

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