Basque Country, Musings, Surf, Travels
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Follow Your Bliss: A Piece on Happiness

How do you measure a year? Like grains of sand falling between your fingers, those three hundred and sixty five days can slip by quite unnoticed, as do the infinite number of possibilities that pass us by each day, leaving nothing behind but invisible traces of a life that could have been… But every now and then the flow of sand stops. The final grains fall, soundlessly joining the soft mound of memories made…

A year has gone by.

The anticipation of the past twelve months has brought you full circle before you even know it. You might step out of the year just as you step out of your front door every morning, wearing the same shoes, drinking the same coffee; it could very well be this day last year. You might trip up over the threshold, just about steadying yourself before that coffee spills all down your new shirt. Or you might tumble out backwards, caught off-guard by the sudden halt in momentum and knocking your head on the way out. Rubbing the back of your head, you look around with dishevelled hair and blinking eyes, dazzled by the bright unknown that is the rest of your life, and ask yourself: how did I get here again?

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One thing I’ve learnt this year is that right here, in this moment now, you are exactly where you are meant to be. I’ve learned to trust that even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re in the right place, life will soon find a way to guide you back to your path. You will meet someone or read something or go somewhere, and suddenly there is the door hanging wide open to what you’ve been looking for. And looking back, you realise that it was all because you were, in fact, exactly where you were meant to be at that time.

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I’m a strong believer in what goes around comes around. Do good deeds and good deeds will be done to you. Speak only good and only good will come to you. Be grateful for everything you have and you will receive more things to be grateful for. Have good thoughts and those thoughts will manifest a good life. Because your life, what you see in front of you, is a direct reflection of your thoughts, what you see in your mind. And if you have positive thoughts, you will radiate positivity from your being out into the universe, which will in turn attract positivity right back to you in the form of events, encounters, opportunities and fortune.

But positivity is not something that can be plucked from the air. It is the fruit of physical and mental effort, cultivated by the retraining of the mind and an appreciation for all that you have. It might not be easy to begin with; doubt and discontentment arrive uninvited and empty-handed, whilst inertia sets in and dampens the spirit. But the mind is everything and as Voltaire said, “I have chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health”. Happiness is a choice which is made by understanding your own needs, dreams and talents and not comparing them with those of others around you.

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In an online world where existence becomes exhibition, we are constantly being exposed to the lives of both people we know and don’t know; where they are, who they are with, what they are doing… It’s easy to get lost in the portrayed world of others, and we perhaps begin to lose touch with ourselves as our minds are slowly numbed by images on a screen. We can spend so much time observing how everyone else is living that we assume this is how we should be living too. We lose sight of what makes us unique and what inspires us to be alive.

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Putting down the screen, taking a deep breath, noticing the world around you, you awake from this warped dream and return back to you. To where you are right now. Inhalation, exhalation. Light a candle, make some tea, turn the music on. This is your life right here, and you have the ability to change it right now. “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”, said Wayne Dyer. Because the present moment is all we have, it’s the only place where life exists and it’s free for the taking. To spend it fearing for the future and mourning the past is a waste of energy at the least and sacrilegious at most.

Because as many have said before, life is a gift and you never know when it will be taken from you. So surround yourself with the people you love, the things that inspire you and the experiences that make you feel most alive and appreciative of this gift. In other words, find what makes you happy and go there.

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But take heed; the word happiness has been tainted with the notions and values of a society which makes us believe that the more things we own and the more things we can buy the happier we will be. This kind of materialistic happiness satisfies our ego and nothing more; true happiness, contentment in its purest form, this is what satisfies our soul.

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It’s in the mundane and the extraordinary where I find inspiration. In the ache of laughter and the stinging tears of sorrow where I feel most alive; the first drops of freshwater on salty skin; the taste of red wine on dry lips and the warmth of sunrays on bare skin; the sweet smell of jasmine and the bubble of boiling water; the vastness of the ocean and the silence of a wide open field; the depths of an eye and the soft sighs of sleep.

In short, it’s connection in all of its forms that brings us closer to where we are meant to be.

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There is a universal language understood by all but long forgotten. It’s a language that connects us all with everything in existence… It’s in the tide and the wind and the rain… The moon, the stars and the sky… It’s your intuition, your trust in others; the comfort you find in the familiar and the excitement of the unknown…

You speak it when you meet a stranger and an hour later they’re an old friend…

When you return to a place that feels like home even though it isn’t…

You find yourself speaking it in fleeting moments, like when you wake up so early you’re alone with the breaking dawn; when you’re climbing up a mountain and stop to take in the view below; when you’re watching the stars and wonder how far you’re seeing; when you’re looking out to the horizon and wonder who’s looking back…

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You’re connecting with everything around you, and contemplating your place in it. How very small you are and yet how significant your existence actually is. A grain of sand in the desert of the world, but a grain of sand nonetheless. A drop in the ocean of the universe and its entire ocean in a drop.

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We have to chase these moments, because this is where an extraordinary thing happens. It’s called living. We are the only beings on Earth who have the privilege of this awareness. This is what I’ve learned over the past year, from the books I’ve read to the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been. Be brave, be curious, be true.

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And above all:

Follow your bliss; it will not lead you astray.

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1 Comment

  1. Liane Kemp says

    Powerful yet gentle words Lily. You are a true thinker and so wise for one so young. Your adventures have given you so much experience that even age can’t match. So proud of you xx

    Liked by 1 person

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