Rearranging the “furniture” in your mind.
I have a love/hate relationship with painting. I love looking at the myriad of individual paint sample cards. I love the feeling each shade evokes. I love the possibilities. I love how the room will look and feel when the project is completed. Unfortunately, the paint doesn’t get on the walls by itself. That would be the hate part.
Standing in Home Depot’s paint department in front of 100’s of little color samples that offers millions of possible color combinations can be a wee bit overwhelming. For me, perhaps the most difficult part about repainting a room is deciding exactly how I want the room to feel. Cozy? Whimsical? Peaceful? Tranquil? Fun? Color can make any four walls feel exactly how you want them to feel.
We all spend a great deal of time coloring the environment we live in. From the colors in the rooms we dwell in, the furniture in those spaces, the music we listen to, the books we read, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the friends we keep, we surround ourselves with that which brings us comfort. In shaping our world as we do the underlying goal is our own happiness.
THE COLORLESS ROOM Personally, I’m a big fan of happiness. I highly recommend it. I’ve experienced both happiness and unhappiness and given the choice happiness is the way to go. As I’ve evolved to where I am at today, though, I sometimes find myself questioning the source of my happiness. Am I happy because of the “stuff” I own? Is my happiness dependent upon outside forces, influences, and conditions, or the acquisitions of materials goods, approvals, and favorable opinions? What happens to me when I am outside of the perfect environment that I have so carefully crafted for myself?
Could I still be unconditionally happy in colorless room, alone yet content in my own company?
Happiness is a funny thing. We are all born happy, even though our birth was met with a whole lot of crying and screaming. Somehow, though, we slowly learn how to become unhappy. As small children we are amazingly content with what we have. The frilly bow on the gift was just as exciting as the gift itself. Eventually, we shift our focus onto what is missing, what we didn’t get for Christmas instead of what we did get. At some point we “rationalize” that what we have defines who we are, not only within our own minds but in the minds of others. Somehow we let status and approval become the benchmarks for our happiness. The gap between who we really are and who we think we need to be continuously expands. The crying and screaming that accompanied our birth now silently rages within.
INWARD SHIFT As I’ve grown spiritually I’ve come to appreciate the parenting skills of God and the lessons I’ve been able to learn. In my years of searching I was allowed to experience the emptiness of realizing unfulfilling dreams. I believed that if I was just able to achieve certain external goals that internal happiness would be mine. And like a wise parent, He stood by and allowed me to arrive at the threshold of what I thought would make me happy only to then open the door and find nothing behind it. The problem is that those doors swung outward. What I needed was to swing the door inward.
Over the years I’ve slowly shifted the source of my happiness. Inward. Simply because life has taught me that true sustainable happiness only happens when there is no gap between who you are and who you think you need to be.
As I was contemplating the impact our surroundings have on our happiness I came across a book about Feng Shui by David Daniel Kennedy. I bought this a few years back when Feng Shui “suddenly” became fashionable in the Western world after several thousands of years as an ancient Chinese art form. In the book, Kennedy describes Feng Shui as the “simple interaction of humans and their environments.” He speaks of the placement and arrangement of our possessions and how we place ourselves within those surroundings. The placement and arrangement should be in “harmony with principles of natural energy flow.” Improperly placed items within your environment obstruct the natural flow of energy, which prevents “balance, comfort, and harmony” from filling that space.
CLOSING THE GAP As I’ve shifted my focus inward, I’ve become far more aware of the arrangements of my thoughts, of how I view myself, of how I view the world. Are my thoughts in harmony with my own natural self? Are my thoughts closing the gap between who I really am and who I feel the need to be? Or do my thoughts serve to supplement the separation, get me deeper into the gap, and reinforce the division of self against self?
In hindsight it is now very clear to see that I have always been and will always continue to be the greatest obstruction to my own happiness. Actually, we all are, simply because the quality and accuracy of our thinking can either bring us closer to finding the happiness we all seek or will create the barriers and obstructions that will keep our happiness always just outside of our reach. The “how-it-should-be” paradigm prevents us from appreciating and accepting the “how-it-actually-is”, which generates a great deal of stress and tension, the perfect breeding ground for unhappiness. The “how-it-should-be” paradigm is fueled by thoughts that are inconsistent with our natural selves which create imbalance and disharmony as we wage a silent war against ourselves.
THE SAME MIND I will never be confused with a Feng Shui master, but I do know that happiness happens when my thoughts and expectations of myself are in harmony with my truest self, the real me. My physical environment is important, but how I arrange my thinking is far more critical in determining my own real happiness. The same mind that thinks us into misery and unhappiness can also think us back to the place of balance, comfort and harmony.
So, what is it that you’re thinking that’s preventing you from returning to your natural state of happiness? What are the obstructions that you have placed within your thought process that disrupts the natural flow of energy, balance, and comfort?
Living Half Full is about harmoniously reconnecting to who you really are, who you’ve always been and will always continue to be. As with Feng Shui, it is about rearranging your thoughts to eliminate or at least mitigate the obstructions that prevent you from seeing the real you, the you that is already strong enough and already complete enough to find unconditional happiness in a colorless room, alone yet content with your own company.
There is no gap between who you are and who you think you need to be when your thoughts are consistent with your natural self.
It’s a great day to be you!