Monday, May 3, 2010

Dear Michigan (I Want To Share A Simple Truth),

I’m private by nature, as is she, which is why sharing my feelings this way, sharing our story, so to speak, is challenging, to some degree. But, as Neale Donald Walsch suggests, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” And I can’t think of anything more important or more personal to share than love and a simple truth about happiness.

When someone reads these love letters to you I don’t want them to think I’m just some young fool blinded by infatuation or limerence. Somehow, somewhere along the way, over the past few years, we grew close, then closer still, we became best friends, and more. And I can’t begin to express how wonderful that is, how grateful I am to have you in my life.

Not only do we share so many common interests, like our love of the arts and of poetry and of nature (and of our inherent connection to them), but the best part is how we can just be ourselves, how we don’t need to be doing some extraordinary thing to be happy. It’s doing the everyday ordinary things with someone you love that can make them extraordinary - things like going to the market or to some specialty shop, getting the basics for a simple meal, returning home, moving about the kitchen, lighting candles, music playing on the Ipod, occasionally bumping into each other as we reach and rinse and chop and sauté and sip, as we talk and laugh and allow ourselves to just be there in the moment, or later, as the sun goes down, sharing a book. Happiness is found in doing these familiar things with someone who makes us feel like everything’s the way it should be just by being who they are, just by being who we are. It’s moments like these, like an afternoon hike, or clearing the ice on the pond out back so the kids can skate, when happiness reveals itself, reminds us that we don’t need to seek it out.

I like the idea of happiness being something that is with us, something we might not even be aware of because it’s found that “settling down place” inside us, it’s become a familiar part of us that we might take for granted, but it’s always there ready to flap around. Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to find happiness that we sort of overlook the truest form (our eyes on the horizon instead of at our feet, so to speak).

Being oneself is often the hardest thing to do. But isn’t that what love is (that gift we often deny ourselves), an appreciation of our true selves. It’s not about trying to be what you think others want you to be, it’s about allowing yourself to just be you, to just be, and knowing that those who love us love us for that very thing. So, when others whisper in your ear about the things you’re not, when they try to bring you down, remember that I love you for whom, for what, you are.

Other quotes on happiness:

If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time. ~Edith Wharton

Happiness is... usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults. ~
Thomas Szasz

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. ~Albert Schweitzer

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. - Rumi

*image above via painting titled "Head" - by Gordon Newton, 1989.

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