Harry was running around the oval at soccer practice the other day, jumping and laughing and tackling the soccer coach dads with the rest of his middle-of-the-school-holidays-mad teammates. I sat to the side, switching my attention between him and his brothers, who were wandering around the outskirts of the field, finding ways to amuse themselves and fill in the time.
They found a wall. They found a ball. They found some orange cones. They found a ditch on a cricket pitch (no more rhymes now, I mean it. Anybody want a peanut?). Anyway. They set up an obstacle course.
They ran together, circled cones, jumped and reached for the ball. Kicked the ball. Put it back. Wyatt got frustrated with Flynn for doing it wrong. They circled back and began again.
They had a whole field and a rare moment of sunshine and they chose to confine themselves and create an obstacle course.
For a small moment I wondered if this was me (us, humans) in infant form. Creating obstacles, tensions, drama when there are none.
(Not that they weren’t totally happy and loving the moment, but…)
Why can’t we be content to just run and enjoy the sun and the good things given to us? Can’t we just be happy?
I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago, and a psychologist was speaking about a couple of different experiments conducted looking at how little boys and girls play differently. One study looked at group dynamics when there were three kids, and only one toy designed for just one kid to use, the second (and more interesting to my mind) looked at group dynamics when it was three kids and a sharing toy. In this instance, the boys got stuck right in and began playing together, whereas the girls spent most, if not all the time discussing how to play the game. Afterwards, the psychologists comment was ‘girls don’t know how to play’, however a female psychologist offered her own insight, saying, they are playing.
We just have different views of what play means.
The obstacle is the play. Even the drama some people crave in their lives is the play. The satisfaction in overcoming, resolving, problem solving. Haphazardness and issues in our lives (invited or not) aren’t necessarily negatives. Or your negatives aren’t my negatives. Negatives don’t have to be negative.
They’re just a part of existing.
I read a post by Sweet Madeleine recently on the subject of seeing our life as a series of problems to be solved. I think that’s kind of the issue here. Seeing obstacles as problems. Or rather problems as problems. Thinking their meaning is universal and universally negative.
It’s the same on the flip side, that happiness is universal. And that it must always be connected to joy or euphoria, but it’s so much more than that.
It’s satisfaction and delight and appreciation. It’s a life well lived. It’s none of those things. It stands on shifting sands with it’s meaning and markers of achievement always moving.
It’s more than different things make us happy, it’s that happy is differently understood and felt and experienced.
It has a different face and speaks a different language. And the faces and languages keep evolving.
I’ve been unwell lately, and in the middle of that it’s hard to be happy. Or appreciative. Except that life is still good. It is great. So overall there is happy, just very little inthemoment happy. I don’t see a problem in that. Or a negative.
Today my happy is getting through the day with everyone fed and some sunshine on their backs. Tomorrow I don’t know.
What’s your happy?