How to Look for Happiness in All the Wrong Places

We tend to think our happiness lies in the predictable and permanent instead of being present with life when the tide comes in and when the tide goes out.

How to Look for Happiness in All the Wrong Places

In Pema Chödrön’s book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, she says, “We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. Thus we become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort. What begins as a slight shift of energy – a minor tightening of our stomach, a vague, indefinable feeling that something bad is about to happen – escalates into addiction. This is our way of trying to make life predictable.”

What’s so strange to me: I KNOW that nothing’s permanent and yet, I still try to arrange things so that, finally, I’ll have something I can “count on.” Ironically, I can count on the ebb and flow of life, but that isn’t what I want. I want to make the unpredictable predictable. Ah, one of the many faces of trying to control . . .

As much as I’d love to be in control, it has yet to yield anywhere near the amount of happiness I think it should! So, I’m practicing sitting with the uncomfortable feelings. What’s so amazing to me: I often experience a sublime peace when I’m not fighting what is.

I’m also practicing enjoying the adventure of chaos. As I’m going to yet another pet store to get new food and more remedies that might help my kitty Miles feel better, I surrender to not being in charge.

When I’d really love a particular thing to happen, I notice that attachment doesn’t feel good. So, I say to myself, often out loud, “It will happen. Or it won’t happen.” And, I’ve found happiness in releasing attachment.

What I’m noticing more and more: the sweetness in life, even when I feel uncomfortable and even when things aren’t as I wish they would be.

What about you? What does your relationship with discomfort, predictability and permanence look like? What do you notice about happiness for you? Please share below . . .

2 comments to How to Look for Happiness in All the Wrong Places

  • Ann Strong

    Ken, I’m imagining it has to do with our delightful similarity of being human. Ah, to remember we all DO have so much in common. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Ken

    Like you, I “know” nothing is permanent and still I seem to crave permanence. Like you, I feel moments of sweetness in the midst of the things I can’t control. Like last week’s video, we do have similarities with our differences….

    Thank you!

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Ann Strong, founder of Strong from Within and Thriving Coaches.

Author of Thriving Work.


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