Wednesday, October 04, 2006

happiness, love and simplicity

Sometimes ppl wonder why I moved to Bahrain and my first answer should be obvious - for love and for happiness. My second way of looking at it would be to say that it's more of a simple life.... or can be for those who want it. Things can be at a snail's pace, which can be good at times and very relaxing, but I've had those days where it drives me batty... but mostly, I like it.

I'd say that I'm a simple girl. There was a time in my life when I worked a lot, sometimes pulling all-nighters when I worked on large bankruptcy cases for AA&Co. I made a lot of money, which to some would be heaven... but the thing about making a lot of money is that sometimes you realize that money isn't what life's about or that's how I started feeling. Sure, I was able to buy the finer things in life, had a really nice car, designer clothes, ate at some of the best restaurants... but I wasn't happy. I hated my job, my favorite car turned into a lemon, and there's always the next season and the next season and the next season in fashion. So I decided to make a change. I left that job, later met a man who then, later, became my husband and, eventually, moved to Bahrain.

When I was a young girl, I was pretty much a tomboy. Yeah, I played w/ my barbie dolls and loved them, loved doing girly things to an extent, but I also loved to climb trees, play in the barn in hay stacks, feed the pigs and chickens, go on nature hikes w/ my cousins in the cow pastures, and I loved to go fishing. I even dug up my own worms and put them on the hook w/out batting an eye. I loved it. I used to go fishing all the time w/ my oldest brother. He's a great fisherman. Sometimes I'd go on fishing trips w/ him that would last weeks. And sometimes we'd even sneak into places just to fish their ponds. It was so much fun and I loved it. Once I thought I was catching this HUGE fish, it fought me and it took everything I had to pull it in... well, it turned out to be a turtle. We let him go. The one thing that always bothered me though was seeing the fish as they gasped for air. Their gills would move up and down and they'd stare at you w/ those blank eyes... I couldn't stand it. I'd sit there and feel so sorry for those fish. Just wanting to do something to save them. I always felt happy when he finally skinned them so that they'd be out of their misery. Boy, he made the best fried catfish... ummmmm.... it was so tasty.

This all brings me back to my original point... the simple things in life and happiness. I no longer want, like I used to, for the most expensive clothes, the most expensive shoes, the most expensive anything... I was trying to fill a void in my life w/ these things... to fill an emptiness that existed inside of me, to mask a loneliness... and it does work for a while, but then what? Those feelings come back when you aren't happy. It does give you a rush to buy things... it soothes that ache inside of you for a while... but it doesn't last. The thing that lasts is happiness. Do I still like nice things, yes. Do I still buy expensive things, yes.... but my charge cards aren't maxed out and it no longer gives me the buzz like it used to do.

I've realized, thru my own experiences, that being happy is most important. I know a lot of ppl find what they think to be true happiness when spending money but I never did. Don't get me wrong... if I see a beautiful outfit, yeah, I still sometimes long for it and sometimes even buy the darn thing, but it's nothing like it used to be. Plus, things are different now. I appreciate things in a way that I never did before... I guess some of this comes from a maturity, from growing older, from realizing there are more important things in life.... and from finding an inner peace.

Don't get me wrong, I still get unhappy. I still get sad... but I am able to go back to that happy place inside of me when I feel that way. Yeah, sometimes it takes a day or so, but it does come back to me. I have a happiness now that is able to shine inside of my heart, it soothes my spirit and calms me. Is that love? Does true happiness come from love? I believe so.

A yoga instructor that I admire, Erich Schiffmann, says "love is what's left when you let go of everything you don't need." Now... HOW TRUE IS THAT?!!! This is a favorite quote of mine and I find it to be remarkably true. It has a calming affect when you sit and really think about it.


The Moody Minstrel said...

I love that Schiffman quote! I seriously intend to remember that!

I especially intend to remember it next time my wife starts getting on my case to by her another expensive, brand-name coat or handbag... ;-)

Alfanan said...

In the words of Ellen Degeneres:

"Aaaand back to the happy place" 

I believe I'm still kinda going thru that period where I enjoy expensive things more than I should. It is, however, starting to fade away (or so I'd like to think about it).

Moody, do they sell fake designer purses or clothes in Japan? I buy my wife sometimes the fake stuff and pretend it's real. She never fails to detect that it's fake.

Opps… did I say that out loud? ;)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Yes, Alfanan, they do sell fake designer purses and things here, usually in the "fashionable" street markets you find in certain districts. I haven't been to one of those markets for a loooonnnng time...mainly because they're only to be found in areas fairly far away. (Tokyo is a good two-hour drive away...followed by another hour looking for a place to park...)

Uh, oh...I think you blew your cover!

Hasan in Japan said...

Very fun blog :) Keep it up..

One Wink at a Time said...

Very true and inspiring post. I wish I'd learned this lesson earlier in life than when I did. I wouldn't have so much crap to get rid of now!

MSB said...

very nice quote.. & it's true, when u have inner peace & happiness, the rest is all trivial.

IRC President said...

Good for you to learn this at early age. So many poor people still think that much money will solve it all, though it is nothing like that.

Be happy for always :).

Olivia said...

Tooners, what a beautiful soul you have :)

Yes, I learned to cover emptiness with shopping after my parents split up. It has now become a habit.

It is getting harder and harder for me to find my own happiness, I long for the day when I can enjoy the love of someone else in my heart.

Leilouta said...

"It doesn't matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn't matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years - we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on."

Sharon Salzberg