I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday, about how happy I am in our little Greek village, lamenting that the first half of my stay has passed so quickly. “I know it’s your happy place,” commented my friend. “Where’s yours?” I asked. After a quick moment of contemplation, I received a reply; “I don’t have one yet.”
It took me about a second to realize that once, I too, did not have a happy place. Of course, I believed I was happy, not really giving the particulars much thought as I ran through the hectic pace of my life. And while I intuitively knew that my happy place was physically somewhere by the water, (hey, I’m Greek, so no stretch there…), I could not see it in my mind’s eye, or sense it, or feel what it was like to be happy there.
It was after a few years of practicing yoga when I realized that my yoga mat had become my happy place. It was subtle at first; a happy feeling that flooded me after I left class. The feeling started to last longer, seamlessly blending into my days and nights. I felt light and bright every day; truly happy, despite the fact that I was going through a very difficult and turbulent time.
My yoga practice saved me; keeping me afloat so I would not succumb to the weight of my world’s circumstances. Every minute on my mat took me deeper into myself. By peeling away the superficial layers of my existence, and challenging the illusions to which I clung, my awareness turned deeply inward, guiding me to a place of honesty and freedom. I bravely re-established my beliefs and gently acknowledged my shortcomings. I practiced forgiveness, empathy, and compassion, toward myself and those around me. By freeing myself from my attachments, I began to experience pure joy.
Much has happened since that realization, and I can still say that my yoga mat is my happy place. But my conversation yesterday was revelatory in one very significant way. My friend, (and you know who you are) expertly shined the spotlight so I could acknowledge a true milestone in my journey; that I am truly happy! Regardless of my life’s circumstances, I have come to a place where I know what it feels like to live in pure joy and to carry that feeling with me everywhere.
I believe that people come into our lives for a reason. With a happy heart, I send my gratitude to all of my friends who have supported me on my path, with the sincere hope that you, too, find bliss in finding your happy place!