Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

It All Comes Back to You

By Healingyoga

I was browsing through the headlines on my tablet the other day when I saw a headline that included the phrase semi-happy marriage. I didn't even click on the article -- I had seen enough (and I was reminded once again why I don't consume "the news" on a daily basis). I find that phrase just plain sad and since I don't believe in being semi-happy, I don't even acknowledge this description/state of being as true. Before I rant on about this (oooohhhhh...I have a lot to say on this topic), I must admit that I did not read any book or article that addresses this topic or coined this term or whatever. I don't have the full context, but I'm going to discuss anyways. This, my friends, is the joy of having a blog.

Let's consider this: when new parents are asked what their deepest wish is for their new baby (besides being healthy), do you think any of them say, "I just hope that my son/daughter is semi-happy!" Now I'm not a parent, but you can bet that if I were, I would not want my child to be resigned to a fate of being semi-happy! Who the heck grows up thinking, "I just want to be semi-happy." As you can see from my rather...passionate...ravings, I am not a fan of the concept.

Is that what we're choosing in life -- to be semi-happy? We are semi-happy in our jobs, committed to semi-happy relationships, living in a constant state of semi-happiness. But, wait -- we're just thankful that we're semi-happy as opposed to unhappy, right? After all, being semi-happy is preferable to misery, right? And who are we, really, to hope for more than being semi-happy? After all, there are people in the world who are much worse off than we are, so why complain about being semi-happy? It could always be worse, right?

Wow -- that was actually painful to type, as it goes against everything that I believe and live. Now, lest you think I've been living in Happy Land wearing my rose colored glasses for my entire life, let me fess up. I, myself, was in a semi-happy relationship...for a long time. I didn't have this hip (re: pathetic) term to describe it, but I could feel that something wasn't right. I was feeling disconnected and I had a persistent feeling of disappointment and frustration. I had followed social and cultural rules and did what my siblings and parents had done before me, yet I wasn't feeling all that happy. 

The keyword from the above discription was disconnected. I was disconnected from myself. It wasn't that my relationship was semi-happy -- I was semi-happy. If I wasn't happy myself, how could I possibly be happy with another? You could say that I went on a mini-quest after figuring this out. It took years, but I ditched the semi-happy nonsense and decided that I would never settle for that again. I made a decision to be happy -- 100% truly, deeply, madly happy...within myself. 

While I was languishing in my semi-happy relationship, I saw something on public television one fateful Saturday afternoon. It was like spiritual Reality TV before Reality TV even existed -- cameras followed a dozen or so yoga retreat participants throughout their week-long yoga journey (which was in an exotic location, of course), complete with followups upon returning to their daily routine at home. It was Eat, Pray, Love without Italy and India. I became riveted watching how something seemingly simple -- quiet time and a simple yoga practice -- could result in such profound changes in a person over the course of the week. That's when I had my Harry Met Sally deli scene moment: as I watched the show unfold, I said to myself, "I'll have what they're having." I wanted it. Bad. I suppose the degree to which I wanted it was the degree to which I realized that I was lacking it.

I had already tried yoga a few years back but was sporadic with my practice. That Saturday I decided to make it a regular practice. I already had a workout regime, so I wasn't coming to yoga in search of tight buns or flat abs or the ability to touch my toes. Instead, I was searching for something (or rather someONE) that I had lost touch with -- myself. Years later my wonderful partner and co-conspirator in my semi-happy relationship would blame yoga for my departure from the tight fitting zone of our semi-happy relationship. It actually had nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with connection.

When I connected with myself (all of me -- the good, the bad, the ugly), I started realizing how unconscious my choices and relationships were. Gee, I guess it's not all that surprising they were semi-happy, eh? I realized that it wasn't about my job or my partner or whatever nonsense I was trying to convince myself was the source of my semi-happiness -- it was me (or, in this case, the lack of me).

I'm happy to say that semi-happy isn't a state that I'm familiar with anymore. I got what I wanted all those years ago sitting in front of the TV feeling envious of the people on that yoga retreat. I found myself and since then, semi-happy has ceased to exist for me. And despite what the media tells you about semi-happy being sustainable and not all that bad and better than many others have it, I wouldn't wish being semi-happy on anybody. [And as a Mad Men fan, this is where I highlight Joan's awesome answer to Bob's semi-happy arrangement proposition on the second to last episode of the first half of season 7. Way to choose happiness, Red!]

Roughly a decade after that fateful Saturday afternoon in front of the TV, I would be in a yoga training session in which we discussed the many definitions of yoga. Relationship was my favorite one. After all, it was yoga that sparked a deeper relationship with myself (and the end of my semi-happy era). It was like striking a match and lighting a candle after spending so much time in the dark. The light drew me in and illuminated things I hadn't been able to see. 

So, my terminally hip wordsmiths, I say this: SCREW SEMI-HAPPY! Semi-happy is just another term for, unconscious, disconnected, auto-pilot, flat-line. We don't come onto our mats so we can be unconscious (or any of those other states I just mentioned). We come to our practice so we can tune in, so we can feel, so we can learn, so we can be in relationship with ourselves, others, and the world. It starts with self-awareness, and awareness is the kryptonite of semi-happy. 

May you transcent semi-happy and choose happiness. The deep, abiding, pure I-can-feel-it-vibrating-throughout-my-whole-body kind of happiness. 



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