In Her Words
Happiness Spurts and Zen Moments
We can’t be happy all the time, but little glimpses of bliss can help us see our lives more clearly
We all can’t be truly happy all the time. I mean, too much sunshine up the wazoo is impossible. I’m happy in my personal relationships but find myself depressed about my professional life. I don’t have a professional life – I’m still job hunting in Washington, D.C., but I’m happy with my boyfriend. Therein lies the catch: I choose to be in a relationship, but it means taking temporary work to make ends meet.
There’s no such thing as pure constant happiness all the time. Pure, unbridled happiness usually comes in little spurts that last about 30 seconds. I describe those little spurts as moments of realization when you feel that everything around you, every part of your life, is in order and is perfect. It’s almost as if the planets and stars align perfectly for a split second and then keep moving in their intended direction.
My first spurt was when I returned to Arizona in 1998 after leaving my so-called life and my family. I was driving back from work. It was a Sunday afternoon. I stopped at a red light and I had a spurt. I thought to myself:
I’m starting college again. I have a job. My bills are paid. I’m starting to get my life back. Wow! Everything around me is perfect at this moment.
You know – a spurt!
I didn’t have that moment again until May 2008, in D.C. I was driving on I-395N, passing the Pentagon early in the morning, going to work and it happened. I thought: I am living in the city I always wanted to live in since high school. I finally have a job after searching for a long time. I am happy with what is going to be a great relationship. My bills are paid. Everything around me is perfect at this moment.
Once again – a spurt. And then two days later I lost my job.
Happiness – pure and simple happiness – I have experienced twice, in the form of 30-second-long spurts. It disappears with reality, but the memories linger – and you’re content for the rest of the day, or maybe even the week.
I also have what I call Zen moments throughout the day. These are moments when I feel hopeful about my existence and remember the Chinese Proverb: If heaven made [her], Earth can find some use for [her]. When it’s time for lunch I am thankful that I have food in my belly, when it’s time to go home after work and I cook a nice meal for my boyfriend, when I reconnect with friends I haven’t spoken to in a long time … those are my moments of daily Zen. We all have those little moments in our day that make us thankful for whatever little things that come our way.
My favorite daily moment of Zen is just right before I go to sleep. That is the moment – right before I close my eyes … I breathe a sigh of relief and my heart feels safe and I am thankful to have such an amazing man in my life who holds me up emotionally when I need it the most. I live my life one second, one minute, one hour and one day at a time; thankful that I get to experience my moments of Zen, and thankful for the two spurts I’ve already had. I can’t wait till the next one.