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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happiness just feels right

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Saying on Print:
“Happiness is when you’re feeling into it, whereas unhappiness is when you’re feeling out of it.”
Description: Black script with a botanical crest
Buy saying on various products at Fine Art America

When I think about it, I don’t feel happy…

As I am the one who thought up the above saying, it's going to seem contradictory to say what I'm about to say, however, it's essential that I say it, so here it goes, “I had no idea what I was thinking about when these thoughts came to me.” Now, how can one have had an insightful thought if they weren't thinking? That's a good question. Maybe the following will help explain it further.

Let's see how well I can recall the day I came up with my quote. It should be easy to begin with, since I always do basically the same thing when I'm about to work on an inspirational piece. I basically sit down with a pencil in hand and a blank piece of paper before me. Then, I wait for the first idea to come to mind. As you can see, it always starts out simple enough, but that doesn't mean it's easy. And it's really not easy if you draw a blank.

In this case, that's what I did ― drew a blank. Nothing came to mind ― not a single idea to nurture. I remember that there was a whole lot of silence and a whole lot of staring down at a blank piece of paper. At one point, I guess out of boredom, I started to tap my pencil into the margin of the loose leaf paper. One point, became two, two became three, and so forth, until eventually I had an arrangement of grey dots. If I had been a music composer I might have perceived a new song composing before my eyes, but as a visual artist, all I was seeing was white space with some randomly placed dots.

Naturally being visually bent, I started to connect the dots to see if there was an outline of some kind. Who knows, maybe a flower might have emerged and taken the course of my day into a new direction. However, it was not meant to be, as not even a stickman could be mustered from the lot. Time lapsed and the only thing that was beginning to fill the space, was impatience and followed by this thought, “This could take longer than I thought.” Now, these weren't exactly the thoughts I was hoping for.
There wasn't an ounce of hope in that. “Maybe I should just quit. I really don't feel like sitting here doing nothing,” I thought to myself. I've always believed that something either easily comes, or it doesn't. You just can't force creativity.

FIRST INSIGHT
So, I didn't force it, but even though I wanted to pack it in, I also didn't know what to do if I did, so I took in a long, deep breath, exhaled, and sat completely still. Suddenly, within this space of silence, two thoughts came to me, “I feel out of it. I'm not happy.”
I felt compelled to write them down, and when I did I actually wrote: When I'm unhappy, I feel out of it. It was true. I had to own it. When I'm feeling like something's not working out the way I want it to, as in, I'm not get the results I want, I just presume I feel out of it ― literally and figuratively. I don't want to do it anymore and I feel unhappy because of that. However, that wasn't the insight. That was just the bud.

The bloom would unfolded completely when I realized that if I wording around and wrote down the opposite of this current perceptions, I would get the following:
I feel into it when I'm happy.
Next it became obvious to me to try and play on the order of the words: unhappiness and happiness. And there it was. My quote had come out, like a water lily blooming on its pad in a pond full of murky mud. Seems like nothing's going to grow there and then,...

SECOND INSIGHT
The real insight came next. After I typed it into the computer to save it, I became aware of another insight – I could see another understanding of it. The above implies that the word 'feeling' means an emotional state or reaction:
I feel out of it = I feel bad = I'm unhappy.
I feel into it = I feel good = I'm happy.
But, what if instead of using the word 'feeling' as a noun, you used it as a verb ― like it was describing a process? What if that process was a 'feeling' instead of an emotion? A response, instead of a reaction?

Take my above experience for example. My impatience was an emotion. It wasn't getting me anywhere, but down the path to giving up. Of course this wasn't the way to happiness, it was a direct flight to unhappiness. So, what is a response to when something 'is' going your way? What's the fastest way to feeling a true feeling? It's not patience. No, it's beyond that. It's complete stillness; physically, emotionally, and mentally. When I had eventually received the results I had wanted, I realized that I had gone through that exact process: I had taken in a long deep breath and I had sat still. Out of that, I then felt the desire to express.
Sure at first you'd think that what I was expressing was quite uninspiring, but in actual reality, I was only in the infancy stage of articulating what would later become the result I was after ― to create something inspiring.

So, you can see, that if I had really sat down and 'thought' about it. I would have just crumpled up that piece of paper that contained my pitiful message, pitched it in the recycling bin, and turned to something else. Instead, I let the process unfold naturally; I felt into it, and happily, I wasn't unhappy with the results. At least I don't 'think' I was.