So many of us have had exactly this kind of moment in recent months – that sense of aloneness in the presence of a vast sky, mostly dark, hoping and waiting for that hint of light to become bright…warm…close.
I think of that light as nourishment…as that which we need to endure. Yet, we can also consider it the light of happiness…that which we need in order to know that life is worth living.
Usually, we think of happiness as delight or joy or celebration…and yes, these are aspects…but happiness sustained is more than these elements. It is found in moments of meaning. Moments of learning. Moments of awe. Moments of connection and moments of acceptance and peace.
Early understandings of happiness meant “lucky” or “good fortune,” but there is an exception, from the Welsh roots, which pointed toward “wise.” And if these complex roots are present at all today, which I believe our research in resilience and positive psychology demonstrates, then we get to happiness not just through that which makes us content or puts us in a state of smiling; but also through those times where we thoughtfully build within us the template for richness, for strength, and for growth.
There is a breadth to happiness, in other words, that is available for us to explore, whether the sky we face is the darkest of nights or a grey of cloud, or a blooming sun. We need not limit ourselves to paths of respite and contentment…we can find our way with careful reflection on where the expansion and relief and wisdom that bolster happiness lives for us in these days…and invest much more often there.