• Chami

私は幸せであってもいい!It's Okay to be Happy

(思いっきり笑顔の時って、目尻がこんなにくしゃっとなってるんだ!目尻のシワが素敵なおばあちゃんになりたい... I didn't know how wrinkly my eyes get when I smile! I want to have lots and lots of laugh lines and be a beautiful older woman one day:))








Have you ever had an experience where you realize what you believe or feel deep inside? Like that moment when you take a deep breath and realize how weary you are, or realize what you've been feeling all along when you listened to that song or saw that movie? Well, I had that moment during a meditation yoga class. We were invited to walk on our mat, carefully and mindfully, for 10 minutes. The mantra was: "I am here. I am present." And towards the end of the time, the teacher asked us to step out as if we were the happiest person in the world. And at that moment, I froze.

I couldn't be the happiest person in the world. Even though I know I am very fortunate compared to so many people who are suffering in the world. And even though I am thankful for so many people and circumstances in my life. And I stop to marvel at the hidden beauty in the ordinary life and cultivate joy and happiness. But I just couldn't allow myself to be the happiest person in the world.

Of course, it's important to use one's own happiness for others' happiness. That was the life philosophy I was taught as a child. Sacrificial love. That was at the base of all I did, in Cambodia, and in the post-tsunami disaster zone. But the difference was, I felt guilt for being happy if I couldn't bring happiness to others. It's natural to want to alleviate the suffering of others. To make the world a better place. But to think I couldn't be happy if that other person is happy isn't truly loving myself.

At the end of yoga class, I get the privilege of laying hands on each student's shoulders and collarbone, and while pressing down and helping the heart space open up, I focus on that person and pray that their life be happy. Not the shallow kind of happy, where you get what you want, but happy in that they are content, become more of who they are given life on this earth to be. But I guess I wasn't able to wish that upon myself with the same open love.

f. And out of that place, whisper all the things I am thankful for. hands on my heart, and said to myself, "May you be happy." I felt my stomach relax and felt warmth within. Maybe I need to practice this more: first thing in the morning, wish happiness to myself. And out of that place, whisper all things I am grateful for.