What is Authentic Happiness?
Do you remember what it felt like to run out of the school doors onto the playground for recess? Not a care in the world, a dead sprint towards the highest tower. You were in a fearless pursuit of laughter and friendship. That is Authentic Happiness.
Have you ever looked out into the horizon over the sea or the lands and felt the magnificence of this planet where we live? Does it make your problems feel small, and your wonder feel big? That is authentic happiness.
Authentic Happiness is simple, it's unrelated to circumstance. It's not a mood, or a destination, it's an experience. An experience that you can choose at any moment. An experience that has the power to shift your quality of life. But although this happiness is simple, as adults, we have forgotten how to access it.
Authentic Happiness and your Inner Child
Children live their lives authentically happy, curious and excited. They have yet to experience the devastating blows of fear or shame that has hardened most adults. As children grow they learn how to exist in the world as a “responsible” adult and lose their ability to fearlessly pursue their joy. After all this joy isn’t valued like wealth and success. But it's this lack of joy that is at the heart of most despair.
This inner child, although forgotten, still lives inside of you and shows itself when it hears a song you really like, or when you get lost in a dance or anything that allows you to be creative or use your imagination. Its in those moments when you are closest to your authentic joy.
Accessing our Authentic Happiness
I began to understand this process when I first started my hula hoop journey. Looking back it makes perfect sense because I was playing with my inner child for the first time in a long time. There I was spinning inside a very large plastic circle and I couldn’t remember the last time my smile was this big. I had to share what I had found. I began to teach others how to access this authentic happiness by handing them a hula hoop. Although its not the best way to learn, I’ve since figured out how to teach this concept without a physical hoop, but the analogy still stands.
As you learn to access your authentic happiness and realign with your inner child, you will experience different layers of understanding. I symbolize these layers as follows:
Beyond the Hoop - This the outermost layer. This symbolizes your life and everything that's happening in it. Your family, your job, the things you have and want to have, the hustle and bustle of everyday life. All of that happens beyond the hoop.
Inside the Circle - This next layer is your safe little bubble. It symbolizes the space where you are free to be who you are without expectations. Your inner child plays in this layer. It is composed of all the things you have physical control over, your emotions, your actions, your awareness, the relationships you are a part of, its that place you go when you need to rest and recharge from the stimulation of the outside world.
The Self - This is an even deeper dive inward. Where you learn to love and accept all that exists in yourself. This is the level where healing happens. This is where you begin to recognize the things that are holding you back, but you also have the tools to work them out and move forward. Your fears live here, your deepest passion lives here, your excitement and purpose for life lives here.
Authentic Happiness - It's here, within the self, that your authentic, pure, wholehearted happiness lives. Without the awareness of the previous layers you aren’t able to access this place very easily. With practice you will learn how to experience your pure joy whenever you call for it. Here your mind is silent and full of gratitude. It's this gratitude that ignites your authentic happiness and when this happens you can see it in all things.