Are You A Patient Gardener?

by Annie Kaszina on May 12, 2012

“You talk about the pursuit of happiness, don’t you?” my lovely partner said, looked at me almost accusingly.  (He doesn’t really do “accusing.” )

“Absolutely not”, I replied.  “As far as I can see, the faster you pursue happiness, the faster it runs away from you.”

The pursuit of happiness is a great and romantic notion.  Too often, in reality, it translates into something small and needy.  It translates into the relentless pursuit of the thing – or, more likely, the person – which will magically confer happiness on you… if you ever catch up with it.

In most cases, either you don’t catch up with it or, if you do, it turns out to be a big disappointment.

And you know why that is, don’t you?

As you hurtle along in hot pursuit of your symbol of happiness, you take yourself with you, don’t you?

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.  But there may well be a lot that isn’t serving you about your approach to happiness.

Happiness is something you aspire to.

It usually comes with the “one day” label stamped all over it.

It has a set of conditions attached to it… and, worst of all, there’s a magic wand expectation in there, somewhere.

Oh dear!

Fairy tales have this great “before and after” aspect to them.  One day Cinderella sits quietly snivelling to herself about how hard life is, the next she’s met the Prince, and The Wheels Have Been Put In Motion.  If she just waits, and hopes, and dreams, her Prince will make her life complete.

Reality isn’t like that.  Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, is about the nearest thing we have to a modern fairy tale.  But she didn’t sit around, snivel quietly to herself, and wait.  She created a happy, loving world for herself, which her Prince is seemingly happy, and grateful, to enjoy with her.  (He is, after all, the newly-wed who’s more than happy to holiday with the in-laws.)

Reality is governed by one simple rule: today is practice for tomorrow.

Think about it: today really is practise for tomorrow.  Or, if you prefer, your yesterday has been practice for today.  Too many of us spend that today pining for what we did not have yesterday – and what we will not have tomorrow.

Pursuing happiness is not helpful practice for tomorrow – unless you want to keep pursuing happiness for any number of tomorrows.  Creating happiness for yourself is helpful practice.

You don’t have to wait to be happy to start creating your happy life.  You can start from exactly where you are today, with what you have.

You always have the seeds of your own happiness within you.

All you ever need to do is learn how to become a patient, loving gardener, and cultivate them.

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