It seems that the majority of us are always trying to get somewhere, whether it is to a meeting on time, to run an errand, or to the next level of our career. But you don’t often hear people talking about needing to get inside, to where the quiet, the peace, the possibility of making sense, resides. I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. As much as I love people, I love to tuck myself away and write, which requires me to turn everything else off and go inside. I love writing for the same reason that I love yoga and running — when I am immersed in each activity, I let go of what comes next. I have to survive the moment before I can venture into the future. I have to find the quiet inside before I can tackle what’s ahead with any level of grace or fortitude. Running long distance has taught me firsthand, that after all the hating and hurdles, comes the clarity, the peace, the happiness, for no other reason than simply being alive, having a body that enables me to keep going, and for sky and stars and earth and trees.
Each of us possesses a catalyst that enables us to turn off the world outside, and delve inward. Sometimes it is a physical activity, other times it is a creative project, playing with a pet, caring for a child, or a game. The key is to find that which takes you out of autopilot and transports you to reality – your reality. To find that which enables you to feel, to question, to think. Autopilot is comfortable. It allows you to keep going, full speed. It helps your life to make sense in a superficial way: brush your teeth, take out the garbage, go to work, call your parents. But autopilot keeps us from getting at our truth. It keeps us from the difficult conversations, from asking ourselves what we really seek in life, from asking ourselves if we are in the right relationships, in the right career, in the right chapter of our lives, or if we have somehow fallen behind or pushed ahead.
While external trappings such as a good job, a big title, a lot of money and all the trimmings that come with that can instigate a temporary high, they in no way create happiness. You can live in a fancy house and drive fancy cars and have a CEO title and look to all like you are living the dream, but if there is unrest inside, none of that matters. Happiness is an inside job – the external frills can only take you so far. We can all accumulate stuff, but at some point, it is no longer an answer, let alone an antidote, and it certainly does not bring joy.
Happiness requires honesty with yourself, which often propels you to be honest with others. You can only fake it for so long. You can only do the seemingly right thing for so long. We are a society of not wanting to disappoint others – colleagues, supervisors, spouses, children. But somehow, in pleasing everyone else, we tend to disappoint ourselves. You need to uncover what is inside of you and find your internal fuses that spark happiness. When you find it on the inside, you will be empowered to make the changes outside of you. How do you get there? There’s a flavor for everyone: meditation, cooking, karate, surfing, painting—whatever transports you to your depths. And once you find your flavor, take the time to go there and schedule appointments with yourself to visit, often. When you live from the inside out, anything is possible.