I dropped in to visit friends at Choices over the weekend. The seminar was in session so I knew there’d be lots of people there to hug and say hello to.
I wasn’t wrong.
It is what I love about visiting Choices friends. It’s as though whatever time has passed is erased and we are all standing, heart-to-heart, connecting on the deeper plane we each discovered exists when we went through the program. It’s the space the space that makes life so much more rich and vibrant.
At one point, I sat and chatted with a lovely woman whom I don’t see very often but when I do, always reminds me of the power of the human spirit to grow and heal and stretch and deepen.
I haven’t spent a lot of time with her, but today, as we sat and chatted about the things in life that have held us back from living the life we want, time wasn’t important. Our heart conversation was.
We talked about how the experience of going through Choices and using the tools in our lives has changed us and all our relationships. How we have both found our lives enriched and our capacity to use our voices strengthened.
One of the greatest gifts Choices has given me is the belief in myself and my right to be happy and my accountability for my own happiness. There was a time when I thought a man would make me happy. Or perhaps the right job, or more education, or more money, or more anything.
What I didn’t realize was that my search for externals was keeping me from diving into the one place where I would find the source of my discontent, and my happiness. My own heart.
Another friend commented that my life seems really busy. “It is,” I replied.
“Are you happy?” she asked.
I heard her question coming straight from her heart and stopped a moment to reflect. I took a breath. In. Out.
Am I happy?
I listened deeply to my heart.
“Yes,” I replied. “I am. And even more than happy, I’m content.”
“What makes you happy?” she asked sincerely.
Ahhh.. Well, of course my grandson. Daughters. My marriage. My life. Beaumont — of course.
But even deeper is my sense of fulfillment. My sense that the work I’m doing matters. That I matter.
A few weeks ago, when I took on the role of Interim Executive Director of the family emergency shelter where I work, I wasn’t thinking about my happiness. I was thinking about how taking on this role was the right thing to do for the organization at this time.
Doing what I believe is the right thing makes me happy.
I hadn’t thought of that until my friend asked me, “What makes you happy?”
In many instances, I’ve been focused on how scary it is to step into these shoes. How daunting a task to try to stabilize an organization that has gone through a challenging period.
I haven’t thought about my own happiness. I haven’t had to.
In doing what I believe is the right thing, I have inherently created a sense of happiness within me. Because, to not do it would have left me disquieted. Uneasy. I would have felt like I was letting people down and while that’s not always a good enough reason to do something, there is a place in me that recognizes that being of service to others fills me up. It feels right within me. And when I feel right within me, I am happy.
I spent a few hours this weekend immersed in the world of Choices. It was a gift of time. Of connection. Of deep-feeling and listening.
It was also an opportunity to delve inside and connect to what makes me tick. What gives my life meaning. What brings me joy.
I am so blessed.
I have a life I love. I am surrounded by people who love and adore me and whom I love and adore. I get to work everyday in a place where I find meaning and fulfillment. And I have friends who are willing to ask me the tough questions that give me pause to consider… What makes me happy?
What makes you happy?